U.S. Regulators consider need for nuclear plant safety improvements

Fukushima Nuclear PlantAmerican regulators have been looking into whether or not U.S. nuclear plants require improved safety measures after having seen the disaster in Fukushima following the Japan earthquake in March 2011.

Even though testing has found the American plants to be fundamentally sound, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission still found room for improvements. According to the Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko, the review was a part of a 90-day task force – which is now two thirds complete – that has revealed that there are mixed results beginning to emerge.

Jaczko explained that the Commission continues to feel that the American plants are operating safely and that the systems and procedures that ensure safety are robust, but they “do believe that there are areas where we can make improvements.”

The chairman discussed issues regarding times of extended electrical power loss, examining spent pools of fuel during emergencies, crisis planning, and badly addressing dangerous issues such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, and other forms of natural disaster.

Among the 440 nuclear reactors around the world, 104 are located within the United States. The earthquakes and tsunami in Japan in March, which caused significant damage to the plant in Fukushima, brought issues of safety into the forefront and bringing about a safety review across the United States. The results of this review should be ready before the end of July.

The review looked into more than just the safety standards at the nuclear plants, but also examined the procedures that are being followed in order to ensure that those standards are being implemented.

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