• Severe Accident Management Guidelines for Nuclear Reactors

    The disaster at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in Japan prompted some people to contend that since U.S. reactors have Severe Accident Management Guidelines (SAMGs) they are less susceptible to disaster. A recent NRC audit of SAMGs at the nation’s nuclear power plants, however, suggests otherwise.  One of the lessons from the 1979 Three Mile […]

  • The NRC in Action at Fort Calhoun

    The Union of Concerned Scientists often complains about Nuclear Regulatory Commission inaction — the agency’s failure to enforce its regulations prohibiting unmonitored and uncontrolled releases of radioactively contaminated water, the agency’s tolerance of four dozen reactors operating in violation of fire protection regulations, and so on. Today, we commend the NRC in action. Flood waters […]

  • The Lessons of Fukushima

    Testimony before the US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, 29 March 2011 The Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in Japan experienced a station blackout.  A station blackout occurs when a nuclear power plant loses electrical power from all sources except that provided by onsite banks of batteries.  The normal power supply comes from the plant’s […]

  • Nuclear “Station Blackout”

    The combination of an earthquake followed by a tsunami in Japan initiated a sequence of events that ultimately led to damage to the reactor cores at Fukushima Dai-Ichi Units 1, 2, and 3 caused by inadequate cooling. Can’t happen here?  Perhaps not by the same method, but definitely with the same consequences. The earthquake caused […]