Skip to main content

View Diary: NATION'S NUCLEAR REGULATORS SCALE BACK EMERGENCY READINESS (18 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  How to tell an journalistic hit piece (0+ / 0-)

    #1. Don't give the subject of article, the NRC in this case, any opportunity to explain itself. There is no indication the journalist even attempted to contact the NRC. No indication it "declined to comment" like it would if it had something to hide.  All that was included was a few words of what may have been a thorough explanation from FEMA.

    Let's be clear, because the article refused to be, the EP Rule the journalist is referring to did not reduce the frequency of drills that are required to be conducted. What it did was allow some drills to be more realistic and less farcical. As someone who has participated in dozens of nuclear plant drills I can tell you there has always been an element of Kabuki theater to them. Everybody knew going in that the drill scenario would be constructed such that no matter what was tried in response to a simulated failure that the drill controllers would say it was unsuccessful because things needed to be escalated one way or the other so the state could play its part. Now, if the drill teams make good decisions they will sometimes be allowed to prevent the scenario from escalating all the way to General Emergency. I sort of see were a state official might not like the change because they want opportunities to run their emergency management folks fully through their paces as much as they can.

    What the journalist conveniently fails to mention is that this specific change (which the industry did indeed support) was just one of many in the new EP Rule, many of which the industry was less enthusiastic about. Some changes will require many utilities to hire additional staff to ensure the plant's response to an actual event will be timely and effective. Far fewer on-shift workers will be allowed to be credited with wearing multiple hats, like being available to serve as both a fire brigade member and plant operator at the same time until additional emergency response members arrive. These other changes that the AP author conveniently neglects to mention will cost many sites hundreds of thousand of dollars a year in added labor costs. Contrary to the impression the AP author attempts to convey, the EP rule will have the net effect of costing the industry serious money.

    •  What a coincidence! (0+ / 0-)

      That bit about the exercises not being held less frequently happens to be the NEI's response to the AP article.

      I read the actual rule published by the NRC and it clearly states that ingestion pathway exercises (i.e., covering recovery activities in the 50-mile radius of a plant) will be conducted less frequently. The ingestion pathway, by the way, is the means by which people who live in a contaminated area will receive most of their radiation exposure. It's a critical activity and testing it only once every eight years is absurd...particularly when many emergency management personnel don't stay in the same job that long.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site