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Fukushima: NO "Lessons Learned": NRC Commissioners vote down their staff recommendation

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  • Romi Elnagar
    NRC Commissioners vote down their staff recommendation for filtered vent on unreliable Mark I and II containment NEWS FROM BEYOND NUCLEAR For Immediate
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 21, 2013
      NRC Commissioners vote down their staff recommendation for filtered vent on unreliable Mark I and II containment
      For Immediate Release:  March 19, 2013
      Contact: Paul Gunter, 301-523-0201 (mobile)
      Nuclear Regulator Majority Vote Disregards Agency Staff
      Safety Recommendation on Unreliable Mark I and II Containment.   
      Decision requires hardened vent without filter
      Takoma Park, MD — The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission
      (NRC) has voted to disregard a recommendation from its own Japan Lessons Learned Task Force and professional staff that nuclear reactor
      operators should be ordered to install high-capacity radiation filters
      at 23 Mark I and 8 Mark II nuclear power reactors in the United States.
      “These are inherently dangerous and flawed reactors but radiation
      filters installed on more robust vent lines would at least provide a
      significant additional layer to the defense-in-depth,” said Paul Gunter, Director of Reactor Oversight Project for Beyond Nuclear, based in
      Takoma Park, MD.
      “This is fundamentally a Fukushima lesson unlearned,” Gunter added.
      “We all watched the Fukushima accident in horror as Japanese operators
      were unable to manage one containment failure after another. This was in large part because TEPCO was not prepared to manage the release of
      pressure, heat, hydrogen gas and high levels of radioactivity from the
      damaged fuel cores,” he said.
      The NRC staff had recommended the agency issue an Order to require
      high capacity filters be installed on severe accident capable vents on
      the Fukushima-design unreliable reactor containment systems by December
      31, 2017.
      The Commission vote allows for upgrading accident capable vents on
      the Mark I and II reactors but falls seriously short of the staff
      recommendation to restore a significant measure of containment integrity by requiring radiation filtration systems as have been installed for
      many years on most European reactors.
      The NRC Commissioners voted 4-1 against installing the filters by
      Order. Chairwoman Macfarlane supported the filter installation by Order. Commissioners Ostendorf, Magwood, Apostolakis voted in favor of the
      filter strategy but by a lengthy process of rulemaking that portends
      years more delay with an uncertain future. Commissioner Svinicki voted
      against the Order for a filtered vent.
      “The Commission’s majority vote potentially ties reactor operators’
      hands behind their backs if an accident were to occur in the coming
      years,” Gunter said. “Venting an accident without a filter will mean
      fire-hosing downwind communities with massive amounts of radiation.
      “While the NRC and
      industry are spinning the outcome of this vote as a ‘delay’ on a
      decision on the filtered vent, in fact, it is a flat out denial of
      public safety in the interest of saving the nuclear industry some
      money,” Gunter continued.
      "The nuclear industry will score financial gains from this decision but the cost should be
      paid by the loss of NRC's regulatory integrity,” he concluded.
      In voting for the filtered vent, NRC Chairwoman Allison Macfarlane
      was the only Commissioner supporting her technical staff’s judgment and
      recommendation to move forward with an ORDER tohttp://www.beyondnuclear.org/home/2013/3/19/nrc-commissioners-vote-down-their-staff-recommendation-for-f.html industry. She concluded
      that “all of the available data suggests that the installation of
      hardened vents is a prudent and appropriate safety enhancement that is
      within the NRC’s current regulatory framework.” The Commission vote and
      notation sheet can be read at:
      There are 23 Mark I boiling water reactors in the US and 8 Mark II boiling water reactors that are subject of this Commission vote.


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