NRC Outlines Review of U.S. Nuclear Power Plants

In line with a recent request from the president, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday voted to create a task force that will conduct short-term and long-term assessments of safety at U.S. nuclear plants.

“Examining all the available information from Japan is essential to understanding the event’s implications for the United States. We will perform a systematic and methodical review to see if there are changes that should be made to our programs and regulations,” NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko said in a release, referencing the ongoing reactor accidents at Japan’s tsunami-disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Senior NRC managers and former NRC experts with relevant experience will make up the task force, with the NRC inspectors currently posted at U.S. nuclear power plants and regional officials helping with the short-term review. Their schedule is tight. Updates for the short-term effort are scheduled for roughly 30, 60 and 90 days from now.

“This work will help determine if any additional NRC responses, such as orders requiring immediate action by U.S. plants, are called for, prior to completing an in-depth investigation of the information from events in Japan,” NRC Executive Director for Operations Bill Borchardt said in the release.

The longer-term review potentially will inform future NRC regulation changes, according to the release. Commissioners expect work on it to begin within 90 days and a report six months afterward.

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