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Must read investigation : US nuke regulators weaken safety rules!

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posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 08:33 AM
Truly a shocking investigation by AP. Good job AP!

US nuke regulators weaken safety rules

Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation's aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.

Time after time, officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have decided that original regulations were too strict, arguing that safety margins could be eased without peril, according to records and interviews.

The result? Rising fears that these accommodations by the NRC are significantly undermining safety — and inching the reactors closer to an accident that could harm the public and jeopardize the future of nuclear power in the United States.

Examples abound. When valves leaked, more leakage was allowed — up to 20 times the original limit. When rampant cracking caused radioactive leaks from steam generator tubing, an easier test of the tubes was devised, so plants could meet standards.

Failed cables. Busted seals. Broken nozzles, clogged screens, cracked concrete, dented containers, corroded metals and rusty underground pipes — all of these and thousands of other problems linked to aging were uncovered in the AP's yearlong investigation. And all of them could escalate dangers in the event of an accident.

Yet despite the many problems linked to aging, not a single official body in government or industry has studied the overall frequency and potential impact on safety of such breakdowns in recent years, even as the NRC has extended the licenses of dozens of reactors.

Records show a recurring pattern: Reactor parts or systems fall out of compliance with the rules. Studies are conducted by the industry and government, and all agree that existing standards are "unnecessarily conservative."

The AP found proof that aging reactors have been allowed to run less safely to prolong operations. As equipment has approached or violated safety limits, regulators and reactor operators have loosened or bent the rules.

Last year, the NRC weakened the safety margin for acceptable radiation damage to reactor vessels — for a second time. The standard is based on a measurement known as a reactor vessel's "reference temperature," which predicts when it will become dangerously brittle and vulnerable to failure. Over the years, many plants have violated or come close to violating the standard.

As a result, the minimum standard was relaxed first by raising the reference temperature 50 percent, and then 78 percent above the original — even though a broken vessel could spill its radioactive contents into the environment.

The whole report is a must read. It's totally disgusting. The NRC are corrupt scum, putting American citizen, and the world, in very grave danger.

It's only a matter of time before something like Fukushima happens in the US... and I doubt anyone in Washington will do something about it before it's too late... like they always do.
edit on 20-6-2011 by Vitchilo because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 08:52 AM
reply to post by Vitchilo

This is because people are allowed to be lazy because they are protected by bureaucracies. And because we listen but make no sound... Awesome find S&F

posted on Jun, 20 2011 @ 09:19 AM
I wondered when I read the OP how many other countries are doing the same to keep their aged nuclear stations running.

I don't know what percentage of power production the nuclear stations contribute but I suspect part of this policy of dropping safety standards is due simply to keep the electricity flowing.

There's a number of countries with old nuclear generating capacity, without going into the economics of nuclear verses Coal etc, the nuclear debate seems to have slowed down development of new plants, and with an ever expanding power need, may have shot us all in the foot, basically because without new stations coming on line periodically, we have to run the older stations merely to keep up with demand.

posted on Jun, 29 2011 @ 11:02 PM
This is a problem no doubt about that and it doesn't look like it's going away anytime soon. The infrastructure of Americas rise to wealth and power is rotting from within and with no economic boom in sight to either replace or properly maintain it....Well? If this doesn't count as being between a rock and a hard place, I surely don't know what does. Like Celente said America has to invent fire or the wheel to pull this off. Eventually the odds are fair that one of those aging plants will give out and there will be hell to pay and many "tombstones" How many beyond that have to fail before they shut them all down? After they are shut down, where does the gigantic power demand get its lunch? And if it gets to eat, who the heck is going to pay for it?

posted on Jun, 29 2011 @ 11:34 PM
Excellent post, Vitch.

This report carries quite a bit more weight in the shadow of Fukushima Daiichi. If they began this over a year ago, then they were on the right track to begin with.

This needs to be broadcast far and wide to as many people as possible.


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