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New Studies Critique NRC Oversight Role

 From Riverkeeper - http://www.riverkeeper.org/campaign.php/indianpoint_risks/the_facts/1269-new-studies-critique-nrc-overs


Based on the conclusions of three separate studies released in 2006, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s ability to safely regulate the nuclear power industry remains seriously in doubt. In its Lessons Learned Task Force Report on groundwater contamination ... the NRC acknowledges that its own regulations fail to adequately address underground leaks of radioactive water from plant piping and spent fuel pools. Indeed, the current regulations do not require plant owners to monitor the groundwater onsite for contamination, nor is there a requirement to immediately remediate a spill or leak once it’s discovered. The report also concludes that, due to the gaps in the agency’s inspection regime, slow underground leaks can continue undetected for extended periods of time. Despite these disturbing admissions and after only five months of investigation, the report goes on to state that there is no impact to public health from any of these leaks. On a broader note, the September 2006 Report On Nuclear Safety Oversight by the General Accountability Office (GAO) “recommends that NRC aggressively monitor; evaluate; and, if needed, implement additional measures to increase the effectiveness of its safety culture changes and make publicly available more information on nuclear power plants’ safety culture.” The report finds that the agency has been too slow to make changes that would help it better detect declining safety conditions before they become serious. Finally, the Union of Concerned Scientists just released Walking the Nuclear Tightrope, their independent analysis of long-term safety problems at reactors around the country. The report found 51 instances of major safety problems that caused shutdowns at 41 different plants lasting more than one year, indicating “widespread safety problems” that have yet to be addressed by the NRC. The report attributes the scope of this problem to the agency’s unwillingness to enforce its own regulations, and calls on Congress to step in and compel NRC to live up to its mandate of protecting the public before another serious accident occurs.



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