April 10, 2011

Nuclear Safety

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Reactors from a PG&E photo

We've been assured that the 104 nuclear reactors located in the US are safe and have adequate backup systems in place to protect us from the type of problems we are seeing at the Fukushima reactors in Japan. 

However, according to recent NRC reports, it appears our confidence in the adequacy of those backup systems may be misplaced. 

The NRC discovered that the backup systems for both the Diablo Canyon and the San Onofre reactors were not functioning for considerable periods of time. 

The backups at Diablo were not functioning for 18 months and the backups at San Onofre for 4 years. Yes, four years. 
See page 5 of the UCS report on nuclear safety for the details on Diablo Canyon. 

"The glitch in San Onofre's backup generators surfaced in August 2008, when the NRC announced that cables connecting batteries to the equipment had been "inoperable between March 2004 and March 2008. The federal agency found that Southern California Edison, the plant's operator, had failed to "establish appropriate instructions" for connecting the equipment."
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