As a daily reader of Nuclear Regulatory Commission Event Reports, I was pleased to see that ABC News just finished a review of NRC records, and reported today:
…there were 56 serious violations at nuclear power plants from 2007 to 2011, according the ABC News review of NRC records.
ABC found a laundry list of infractions:
Among the litany of violations at U.S. nuclear power plants are missing or mishandled nuclear material, inadequate emergency plans, faulty backup power generators, corroded cooling pipes and even marijuana use inside a nuclear plant, according to an ABC News review of four years of Nuclear Regulatory Commission safety records.
And perhaps most troubling of all, critics say, the commission has failed to correct the violations in a timely fashion.
“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has very good safety regulations but they have very bad enforcement of those regulations,” said David Lochbaum, a nuclear scientist with the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists.
UCS rated some of the violations to be extremely serious:
Lochbaum and the Union of Concerned Scientists found 14 “near misses” at nuclear plants in 2010.
Some of the violations involved handling and inventory of nuclear material:
At the Dresden Nuclear Power Plant in Illinois, for instance, which is located within 50 miles of the 7 million people who live in and around Chicago, nuclear material went missing in 2007. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission fined the operator — Exelon Corp. — after discovering the facility had failed to “keep complete records showing the inventory [and] disposal of all special nuclear material in its possession.”
As a result, two fuel pellets and equipment with nuclear material could not be accounted for.
Exelon did not contest the violation and paid the fine, a company spokesman said.