The NRC granted Vermont Yankee a 20 year extension of its operators license just 10 days after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan. Now 4 months later the NRC wants the US nuclear industry to "upgrade" their reactors. Excerpt from the VPR article:
(Dillon) An NRC task force says that in light of the Japanese disaster, U.S. plants should have systems in place to keep fuel cool for 72 hours.
The task force also made specific recommendations for U.S. reactors, such as Vermont Yankee, that share the same design as the stricken Japanese nuclear power plants.The commission says vents need to be strengthened so the hydrogen gas can be released before it explodes...
(Gundersen) "The industry's position is that letting the radiation out is better than blowing the containment up. And my opinion is that neither are acceptable and that the containment is the problem, and that it either needs to be fixed - strengthened - or shut down."
(Dillon) Gundersen says all the changes recommended by the NRC will cost Yankee about $100 million. That's on top of other expensive repairs needed if the plant operates for another 20 years. Gundersen has a prediction about Entergys Vermont Yankee's response:
(Gundersen) "I think if Vermont Yankee is allowed to operate, the net effect will be it'll be too costly to make the repairs and Entergy will make an economic decision to shut it down."
(Dillon) Entergy is still committed to keeping the plant operating for another 20 years. Yankee spokesman Larry Smith says the industry wants to work with the NRC to implement the changes. He says it's too early to come up with an accurate cost estimate.
NRC Post-Fukushima Report - http://www.propublica.org/documents/item/nrc-post-fukushima-report
This is just a simple move to make people feel the NRC is doing their job, assessing the Fukushima disaster and making appropriate changes. Even if these reactors have uninterrupted energy to their cooling pumps and improved vents, it still doesn’t change the fact that the containment vessel CAN leak.
Arnie Gundersen a Nuclear Industry veteran and Nuclear advisor from Fairewinds Associates has been confronting the NRC about Containment leakage for years.
The NRC’s safety standards in the case of leakage are based on the idea that only 1% of the fuel can “fail”, and only 1% out of that 1% of failed fuel can leak from the containment vessel. 70% of Fukushima’s fuel failed and much more than 1% of that has leaked. Nuclear Energy production with our current technology can not assure any safety. SHUT IT DOWN!
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