Categorized | NRC

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Posted on 18 October 2011

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

What to do with nuclear reactors worldwide? Exactly one day before the catastrophe of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) agreed to continue the operation of a similarly built plant in Vermont. The Vermont Yankee plant is 38 years old and had a license that was supposed to expire in 2012. The majority of all nuclear plants in the United States were built in the 1980s, which shows the high risks involved with their operation. Has the disaster in Japan not taught us enough? The U.S. relies for more than twenty percent of its electricity on nuclear power and has instead of researching safer and more environmentally friendly energy generation methods increased it usage of the old plants. Another reason for the continued usage is that it is less expensive to hope old and weak plants will survive and not bring problems instead of building new ones.

Here is to say that the U.S. is not alone in having problems with nuclear plants and anti-atom power workers. The design of the reactors used in Japan’s plants was done by General Electric and are used world wide next to 105 reactors in America. According to Peter Bradford, a former NRC commissioner, the regulations regarding these plants are rather loose. They have licenses to run for forty years but there is no reason why this length was chosen. “There was nothing magic about the 40-year span. It wasn’t as though somebody said, from an engineering standpoint, ‘What’s the year after which the plants will start to fall apart?’ The 40 years was arbitrary to begin with.”

Source: Washington Post

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