Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
6 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

34 American Fukushimas Possible

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 3 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 3   Well Said 1   Valuable 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H2 11/26/12

Become a Fan
  (24 fans)

opednews.com

WHISTLEBLOWER:  NUCLEAR REGULATORS SUPPRESS FACTS, BREAK LAW

 
Fort Calhoun nuclear plant, June 2011 by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

The likelihood was very low that an earthquake followed by a tsunami would destroy all four nuclear reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, but in March 2011, that's what happened, and the accident has yet to be contained

Similarly, the likelihood may be low that an upstream dam will fail, unleashing a flood that will turn any of 34 vulnerable nuclear plants into an American Fukushima.  But knowing that unlikely events sometimes happen nevertheless, the nuclear industry continues to answer the question of how much safety is enough by seeking to suppress or minimize what the public knows about the danger. 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has known at least since 1996 that flooding danger from upstream dam failure was a more serious threat than the agency would publicly admit.   The NRC failed from 1996 until 2011 to assess the threat even internally.  In July 2011, the NRC staff completed a report finding "that external flooding due to upstream dam failure poses a larger than expected risk to plants and public safety" [emphasis added] but the NRC did not make the 41-page report public. 

Instead, the agency made much of another report, issued July 12, 2011 -- "Recommendations for Enhancing Reactor Safety in the 21st Century," sub-titled "The Near-Term Task Force Review of Insights from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Accident."  Hardly four months since the continuing accident began in Japan, the premature report had little to say about reactor flooding as a result of upstream dam failure, although an NRC news release in March 2012 would try to suggest otherwise. 

   Censored Report May Be Crime by NRC 

That 2012 news release accompanied a highly redacted version of the July 2011 report that had recommended a more formal investigation of the unexpectedly higher risks of upstream dam failure to nuclear plants and the public.  In its release, the NRC said it had "started a formal evaluation of potential generic safety implications for dam failures upstream" including "the effects of upstream dam failure on independent spent fuel storage installations." 

Six months later, in September 2012, The NRC's effort at bland public relations went controversial, when the report's lead author made a criminal complaint to the NRC's Inspector General, alleging "Concealment of Significant Nuclear Safety Information by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission."  In a letter dated September 14 and made public the same day, Richard Perkins, an engineer in the NRC's Division of Risk Analysis, wrote Inspector General Hubert Bell, describing it as "a violation of law" that the Commission:   

has intentionally mischaracterized relevant and noteworthy safety information as sensitive, security information in an effort to conceal the information from the public. This action occurred in anticipation of, in preparation for, and as part of the NRC's response to a Freedom of Information Act request for information concerning the generic issue investigation on Flooding of u.s. Nuclear Power Plants Following Upstream Dam Failure ".   

Portions of the publically released version of this report are redacted citing security sensitivities, however, the redacted information is of a general descriptive nature or is strictly relevant to the safety of U.S. nuclear power plants, plant personnel, and members of the public. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has engaged in an effort to mischaracterize the information as security sensitive in order to justify withholding it from public release using certain exemptions specified in the Freedom of Information Act. " 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff may be motivated to prevent the disclosure of this safety information to the public because it will embarrass the agency. The redacted information includes discussion of, and excerpts from, NRC official agency records that show the NRC has been in possession of relevant, notable, and derogatory safety information for an extended period but failed to properly act on it.

 Concurrently, the NRC concealed the information from the public. 

The Inspector General has not yet acted on the complaint. 

   Most Media Ignore Nuclear Safety Risks

Huffington Post picked up the story immediately as did the Union of Concerned Scientists and a number of online news sites.  The mainstream media showed little or no interest in a story about yet another example of the NRC lying to the public about the safety of nuclear power plants. 

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

 

Vermonter living in Woodstock: elected to five terms (served 20 years) as side judge (sitting in Superior, Family, and Small Claims Courts); public radio producer, "The Panther Program" -- nationally distributed, three albums (at CD Baby), some (more...)
 
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Nuclear Perceptions Fight Reality

Fukushima Spiking All of a Sudden

Vermont Asks: "What the Fukushima"?

Fukushima Meltdowns: Global Denial At Work

Military-Industrial Complex Owns Vermont

Accountability in Vermont?

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
5 people are discussing this page, with 6 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

But not surprising, considering the reputation of ... by Kim Cassidy on Monday, Nov 26, 2012 at 11:50:03 PM
The NRC, like its predecessor the AEC, is str... by William Boardman on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 11:42:38 AM
Thanks for an important article. The present dange... by Mark Goldes on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 12:42:32 PM
This article neglects to mention that the Jocassee... by John Butler on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2012 at 6:00:48 PM
... hardly gives one confidence.  When I saw ... by William Boardman on Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012 at 10:36:16 AM
Great piece.  I ran a piece last April on Fuk... by Jeanine Molloff on Wednesday, Nov 28, 2012 at 9:51:29 AM