GAO: Safety flaws at nuclear reactors
By ELIZABETH VLOCK
Talk Radio News Service
WASHINGTON – A Government Accountability Office report released Tuesday shed light on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s failure to require operating nuclear reactors to implement cutting edge methods to assess risk factors for natural disasters.
Since 1986 the NRC has continually recommended the use of the Probabalistic Risk Assessment, a program that evaluates potential threats that could compromise nuclear reactors such as hurricanes and tornados, yet the NRC does not require nuclear plants to implement the PRA.
The GAO found that five licensees who run 24 nuclear reactors were extremely unlikely to have updated their PRAs since the 1990s, and that the NRC has taken no steps to compel reactor operators to reexamine potential safety risks.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), chair of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee, slammed the NRC.
“There is absolutely no excuse for the NRC’s failure to require the most up to date methods to asses the threat posed by natural disasters,” she said. “Action is needed now to ensure standards are in place that best protect the health and safety of the American public.”
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