Some U.S. nuclear powerplants are not prepared to deal with complete power blackouts that could result from severe events such as the earthquake and tsunami that struck and crippled Japan's Fukushima Daiichi plant in March, Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials say.
Officials from a NRC task force said in a June 14 public meeting that some U.S. powerplants are not ready to cope with an extended loss of power from both the electrical grid and emergency generators, which occurred at the Japanese plant. “NRC inspectors revealed deficiencies at some plants,” says Charlie Miller, task force chairman.
The task force, charged with evaluating U.S. nuclear plant safety, will make recommendations in a report to be issued on July 19. It then will launch a longer-term investigation that will include input from stakeholders.
NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko says the agency will have to recommend regulatory changes related to potential total blackouts. But he says it is highly unlikely that a disaster like the one in Japan would happen in the U.S.