"Task Force Recommends Improvements for Nuclear Plants"

"WASHINGTON — The Fukushima Daiichi meltdowns show that it is time for “redefining the level of protection that is regarded as adequate” at American nuclear plants, a special task force of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has concluded.

The task force recommendations were to be released Wednesday, but a copy of the summary was obtained Tuesday evening by The New York Times.

It lays out numerous areas for improvement, based on the experience in Japan after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. American plants need to plan for simultaneous accidents at adjacent reactors, something they have never done, the task force said.

They also need to make sure that the “hardened vents” added to reactors over the years to prevent hydrogen explosions would actually work in an emergency, the report said, and determine where hydrogen, which is produced by overheated fuel, might flow. Japanese operators had trouble using the vents, resulting in the explosions in the secondary containments."

Matthew L. Wald reports for the New York Times July 12, 2011.


"Govt Panel: Changes Needed at US Nuclear Plants" (AP)

Source: NY Times, 07/13/2011