U.S. regulators need to take steps to ensure safety within 5 yrs

2011-08-16   Source: mdn.mainichi.jp


The chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday the panel should take necessary steps to ensure the safety of nuclear power plants in the United States within five years from the March accident in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.


"I am calling today for the NRC and the nuclear industry to commit to complete and implement the process of learning and applying the lessons from the Fukushima accident within five years -- by 2016," Gregory Jaczko, told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington.


His remarks came ahead of an NRC meeting on Tuesday in which the commission is expected to formally receive a set of 12 recommendations by its task force on the Japan disaster.


"I have proposed to my commission colleagues a road map for taking action on the report," Jaczko said, adding the panel should show clear direction on each of the task force's recommendations in less than 90 days.


"It's clear that Fukushima was an unacceptable accident and that we need to take stronger steps to ensure that type of accident does not happen in the United States," he said.


In the 12-point proposals revealed last week, the task force called on nuclear power plants to have equipment to keep the core cool for at least eight hours at times of power outage.


It also urged nuclear power plants to possess necessary equipment, procedures and training to keep spent fuel cool for at least 72 hours.


On the other hand, the task force report did not find any imminent risk to public health and safety from the continued operation of U.S. nuclear power plants.


Asked about the future of nuclear energy policy in Japan, Jaczko said it is a matter for Japanese people to decide and he does not want to speculate.


Following the nuclear crisis in northeastern Japan, the NRC asked the task force to complete a 90-day report on assessing the situation surrounding U.S. nuclear power plants.