The entire NRC family would like to extend our best wishes to all for a safe, warm and wonderful Thanksgiving Day. We hope you are able to enjoy time with loved ones and to reflect on the many things for which we all can be grateful.
Our offices will be closed for the federal holiday on Thursday, but open again for business on Nov. 29th.
One thought on “Thanksgiving Day Wishes From the NRC Family to Your Family”
Thank you for your Thanksgiving wishes.
We all have much to be thankful for. US nuclear plants are safer today than at any time in our history. Proactive nuke plant changes @ US plants instituted after TMI, Chernobyl, and Fukushima have improved safety and the emphasis on safety.
Looking ahead though I am concerned about our nuke plants in two key areas.
A. Lack of a safe, off-site repository for spent, although highly radioactive, fuel.
Other countries with nuclear plants have dealt responsibly with high level waste by safely storing spent, but still highly radioactive, fuel in safe off-site repositories. The US has not. As a result spent fuel has piled up in over a hundred different locations in the US (i.e. at existing nuke plant sites). Spent fuel pools have been overloaded way beyond their original design basis. As a result an aircraft crash into any of these sites would result in an accident equivalent to a Chernobyl or Fukushima. There is an established no fly zone around these vulnerable sites that, I am sure, terrorists will respect. The delays associated with Yucca Mountain have resulted in a huge security threat for our country.
B. Inadequate flood protection for nuke plants that may be subject to a tsunami-type event.
This concern not only applies to nuke plants on or near our oceans, but also to plants located on the Missouri River downstream of vulnerable earthen dams.
The failure of even one of these upstream dams would result in a tsunami event for downstream nuke plants, Fort Calhoun and Cooper Nuclear Stations. The NRC estimated that such an event would result in a tsunami wave of nearly 50 feet above the elevation for which Fort Calhoun is designed to withstand. Although these nuke plants are designed to withstand a terrorist ground attack or a design basis earthquake, the upstream earthen dams are not. An earthquake at, or a terrorist attack on, an upstream earthen dam could lead to dam failure resulting in a catastrophic accident at these plants, especially during times of high reservoir levels at these dams.
I believe the NRC is well aware of these concerns but there appears to be no real sense of urgency in their resolution.
I will be thankful when meaningful and prompt action is taken to ensure the safety of the public.
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