It’s now been a year since Fukishima and you’d think it would have been a wake-up call for the US industry and its regulators. Naaaahhhh.
From the center for Investigative Reporting, which has a transcript online. hair-raising stuff:
Narrator: David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer with the Union of Concerned Scientists, says that when the next plant came up for relicensing, the industry successfully lobbied to narrow the requirements.
Lochbaum: In 1995, the NRC revised its license renewal process to narrow the focus. That was the lesson learned from Yankee Rowe: We’ll just stop looking, and because we’re not looking, we cannot find any more of those problems.
Narrator: The NRC’s revised regulations for relicensing would now focus only on the aging management plans provided by the utility itself.
It’s striking what the NRC does not review: no thorough inspections of the infrastructure, no review of new earthquake hazards and no re-evaluation of emergency plans.
Lochbaum: We never look. So therefore, we never catch those shortcomings and fix them.
Narrator: Since then, 71 nuclear plants have applied for relicensing, and every single one has been approved. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko insists that the streamlined standards don’t put the public at risk.