"Fewer Inspections for Aging Nuclear Plants, Regulators Propose"

"WASHINGTON — A new report by staff members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees the safety of the nation’s 59 aging nuclear power plants, recommends that the commissioners significantly weaken or reduce safety inspections of the plants.

The report, published Tuesday, comes after a yearlong consultation and public meeting process, including views from the Nuclear Energy Institute, which lobbies on behalf of the nuclear power plant industry and has long sought weaker safety rules. It also comes amid a broader push by the Trump administration for reduced regulations on industry.

Democrats in Congress and nuclear safety advocates criticized the report’s proposals, saying they reflect the influence of an industry seeking to cut regulations rather than improve public safety.

The proposal comes as most of the nation’s nuclear power plants, which were designed and built in the 1960s or 1970s, are reaching the end of their original 40- to 50-year operating licenses. Many plant operators have sought licenses to extend the operating life of their plants past the original deadlines, even as experts have warned that aging plants come with heightened concerns about safety."

Coral Davenport reports for the New York Times July 17, 2019.

Source: NY Times, 07/19/2019