Wednesday, May 15, 2013

US NRC Chairman Allison M. Macfarlane: Life after #Fukushima - “The New Normal”

I guess Ms. Macfarlane probably doesn't know that the word "New Normal" was coined by PIMCO's co-president Mohamed A. El-Erian, as she doesn't give any credit to PIMCO when she quotes the word...

El-Erian's "New Normal" is the phrase he coined in 2009 to describe the post-Lehman world of slow economic growth, high unemployment and high government debt.

In Macfarlane's "New Normal", she says that "public interest in nuclear power, whether positive or negative, remains heightened."

So what exactly is her definition of "New Normal" in nuclear industry regulation, other than to say "In the months and years ahead, we should continue to consider “the new normal,” and assess the nature of the influence Fukushima will have on our daily work"?

Continue to consider?

Well I haven't had time and patience to read the 5-page statement yet, but you can read her entire prepared statement at the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) Nuclear Energy Assembly on May 14, 2013, here.

Feel free to leave the summary in the comment section.

In early April this year, NRC effectively ditched the idea of filtered vent (a la Sir Humphrey, "further study is needed").


Anonymous said...

I've read the statement, and it looks IMHO "somewhat hopeful", as she hinted that the NRC would require filtered vents in 2017.
Basically, it seems the operators have up to 2016 to implement, together with NRC, the first train of post-Fuku measures, which makes some sense of the 2017 date.
What is much more worrying is that she's being too careful with the NEI, only hinting, which means: a) she doesn't quite get it, or b) there's dissent among the NRC commissioners on the filtering issue (that would be beyond stupid).

Anonymous said...

"WASHINGTON – Two years after the nuclear crisis in Japan, the top U.S. regulator says American nuclear power plants are safer than ever, though not trouble-free. A watchdog group calls that assessment overly rosy.

“The performance is quite good,” Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Allison Macfarlane said in an interview with The Associated Press.

All but five of the nation’s 104 nuclear reactors were performing at acceptable safety levels at the end of 2012, Macfarlane said, citing a recent NRC report. “You can’t engage that many reactors and not have a few that are going to have difficulty,” she said.

But the watchdog group, the Union of Concerned Scientists, has issued a scathing report saying nearly one in six U.S. nuclear reactors experienced safety breaches last year, stemming in part from weak oversight. The group accused the NRC of “tolerating the intolerable.”

Using the agency’s own data, the scientists group said 14 serious incidents, ranging from broken or impaired safety equipment to a cooling-tank water leak, were reported last year. During the last three years, 40 of the 104 U.S. reactors experienced one or more serious safety-related incidents that required additional action by the NRC, the report said.

“The NRC has repeatedly failed to enforce essential safety regulations,” wrote David Lochbaum, director of the group’s Nuclear Safety Project and author of the study. “Failing to enforce existing safety regulations is literally a gamble that places lives at stake.”"

"But the nuclear industry is moving into the unknown in several ways, Ms. Macfarlane pointed out. By 2017, about half the operating reactors will have exceeded their initial 40-year licenses and will be running on 20-year extensions. The commission is exploring whether some reactors could qualify for a second 20-year extension. But, she said, “there is limited experience to draw from to address life beyond 60 years.” "

Anonymous said...

@4:09 ...or c) the commissioners think, along with the operators, that there is no point on spending a few miserable bucks on the vent filters when they already have a comfortable liability cap.


Vyse Legendaire said...

New Normal in this situation implies a serious psychosis that does not take into account the farcical nature of the term itself...lives are in danger and she's implying a 'new normal', and people are supposed to take this sitting down?

Anonymous said...

If lies and deception are the new normal then heres some normal stuff too!
Update -Japanese citizens respond to attempted UN cover up! With only 24 Hours to effect change!

Japanese mass media are contaminated by money from Nuke lobby and that’s the reason no mass media followed this important human rights issue. I tried to ask my friends in Geneva if there are any journalists who can have access to UN s coming session about human rights and resolution for Japan. I believe we need alternative journalists who show the world what really happens in Fukushima…..”

Posted by on behalf of anonymous by Arclight2011

A list of names of Japanese government delegation.

For sending your protest:

2. United Nations Information Centre:
5-53-70, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Tel : 03-5467-4451/FAX : 03-5467-4455

Anonymous said...

NRC is controlled by nuclear industry not by Mrs. Macfarlane. Together with industry (represented by NEI), NRC is just playing game. Look at NEI 05-01 document ” Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives” at NRC pages –
This is the officially approved method how to avoid any real improvement. Chapter 4.5 of that document shows NEI estimate of cost of severe accident. Unbelievable that they still keep it as valid reference for utilities. One would anticipate that authors and those who approved such a nonsens loose their credibility. But not, it is method approved by NRC. They prefer to spent 999 000 USD for studies which pencils problems out rather than to spent 1000 000 USD for real plant hardware improvement. For them, it is 1 USD cost saving.
Other trick invented by industry and approved by NRC is use of probabilistic methods in regulation. By " appropriate" tuning of inputs to their models, they can show whatever they want to show.

Anonymous said...

Vent in May, and Go Away.


Atomfritz said...

Thank you Ex-SKF and commenters!
anon 8:58's description is very illustrative. The list of authors and their employers is revealing.
Seen the same thinking way, not protecting the Fukushima plant from tsunamis was just a rational and sensible economic decision.
The same thinking way makes them struggle against sacrificing only one day's plant profits to install filtered vents.

A pure gambling game, concentrating the profits in the hands of a few, and socialize the costs.
And now Fukushima people have to face a "new normality" they have to either adapt to or move away, that is, if they can afford to do so. If not, they are free to commit suicide.
This is the mind-set of reckless greedy organized criminals without any empathy. Not much different from that of robbers, rapists, and murderers.
Oh no, I was stupid, it's just the economy...

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