NRC chairman proposes timetable for nuclear industry reforms | Nuclear News | What The Physics? |
Washington (CNN) -- The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday the NRC should move quickly on post-Fukushima reforms, saying the commission should draw up proposed changes within 90 days, and the industry should implement them within five years.
NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko reiterated his belief nuclear power plants in the U.S. are safe and that a Fukushima-type event is unlikely -- a reference to the the triple meltdown at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi power plant after an earthquake and tsunami in March.

Last week, an NRC task force completed its 90-day "quick look" at Fukushima, and made 12 recommendations, some of them sweeping in nature. Perhaps most significant, it calls on the NRC to replace a "patchwork" of regulations developed over the years with "a logical, systematic, and coherent" regulatory framework.

It also recommends the commission require power plants to upgrade protections to nuclear reactors and spent-fuel pools to further protect them from earthquakes, floods and fires.
The task force also said the NRC should require nuclear power plants to be better prepared to handle power blackouts and events that affect more than one reactor.

"In light of the task force's work, I see no reason why the commission cannot provide clear direction on each of their recommendations in less than 90 days," Jaczko said. "That is the time the commission gave the task force to do its job, and I believe that is more than enough time for the commission to outline a clear path forward."

Both the NRC and the nuclear industry, he said, should "commit to complete and implement the process of learning and applying the lessons of the Fukushima accident within five years -- by 2016.".

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