Planet Gore

New Emergency Power Rule Proposed for U.S. Nuke Plants

It’s hard to argue with this proposal:

Washington (CNN) — Making U.S. nuclear power plants have a plan for running on emergency power for three days after a disaster is a “no-brainer” after the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, the top U.S. regulator said Tuesday.

A new rule proposed in the wake of the Japanese disaster would require U.S. plant operators to be able to handle a station blackout for 72 hours, including eight hours of battery power. While implementing it might take time, the recommendation is “a fairly straightforward one,” said Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“Perhaps I’d throw this one in the ‘no-brainer’ category in terms of adopting this recommendation,” Jaczko told reporters after an NRC meeting Tuesday morning. “It’s one that will take work as a regulation to work through, but it’s certainly one that at this point I feel comfortable supporting.”

The NRC is weighing a dozen recommendations from a panel of experts that studied the crisis at Fukushima Daiichi, where three reactors melted down following Japan’s March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The meltdowns occurred after the tsunami swamped the plant and knocked out power to its cooling systems, unleashing the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

The task force called the prospect of a similar disaster in the United States “unlikely,” but said the consequences if one did occur would be “unacceptable.”

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