The NRC says: “… we mean it.”

 The NRC is feeling good about itself.Sounding pumped, like a lean mean nuclear regulatin’ machine on their “blog” where they declare:

“When the NRC says we consider new and significant information, we mean it.

The story is, errors in recently submitted information were found during a review process for equipment replacement at an existing plant in the Southern US. Based on this new significant information the NRC found that designs for a new Economic Simplified Boiling-Water Reactor (ESBWR) plant might have similar errors. What’s the upshot of these NRC discoveries?  It could mean the NRC must revise reports and/or have the applicants make changes to design control documents which will delay their final decision on design certification. New information comes to light, consideration given to the new facts, followed by regulatory action. Has a watchdog stirred?

more after the fold

“We mean it” yips the NRC watchdog. Well, ok calm down. So let’s say significant new information about potential seismic activity near an existing plant (let’s call it Indian Point-which rhymes with Vermont Yankee) was readily available; the NRC would of course considerate it in the ongoing re-licensing process.

Well not exactly as a former oil industry geologist writing in a opinion piece points out:

Judging by Indian Point, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission may be forcing us to base Vermont Yankee’s geologic risk analysis on antiquated data:“Much new seismological information is available since their initial approvals (of Indian Point) in 1973 and 1975. Nevertheless the US NRC, so far has not permitted any new information to be used or old information on which the original licenses were granted to be contested in considering extension of licenses,” according to a 2008 study by researcher Lynn Sykes.

New York State has an aggressive attorney general who has called upon the NRC to do a comprehensive seismic review as part of their Indian Point relicensing process. The New York AG must have considered significant the findings from 2008 by Columbia University seismologists. They found that two intersecting fault lines near Indian Point were capable of creating a 7.0-magnitude earthquake. Despite this, none of this significant information is incorporated into the current NRC process.

Now remember clearly the NRC claims:

When we say we consider new and significant information, we mean it”.

Well, except when there are significant fault lines involved.  

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