Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s unreliable assessments of aging nuclear reactors

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Is Using Obviously Faulty Models to Pretend Crumbling Nuclear Reactors Are Safe By Washington’s Blog Global Research, August 12, 2013 Ignoring Basic Engineering Science Puts Us All At Risk

Faulty assumptions by America’s financial regulators led to the 2008 crash … and many other disastrous results.

Similarly, America’s main nuclear regulator – the Nuclear Regulatory Commission –   made numerous assumptions before Fukushima that turned out to be totally false.  For example, the NRC wrongly assumed:

(1) The containment vessels in nuclear reactors always maintain their containment.  In reality, Fukushima’s reactors lost all containment

(2) If radioactive gasses leak, they can only leak a maximum of 1% of their radioactive fuel per day.  In reality, Fukushima’s lost 300% per day. In other words, the radioactive gases were leaving the containment every 8 hours

David Lochbaum – Director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists, who worked as a nuclear engineer for nearly two decades, and has written numerous articles and reports on various aspects of nuclear safety and published two books – explained to Washington’s Blog some majorerroneous assumptions that the NRC is making today about American nuclear plants:

The NRC has made some flawed assumptions.  If you look at the chance of failure for a car, lightbulb or power plant, it’s governed by what’s called the “bathtub curve”.  Specifically, the chance of failure is high early on due to material imperfections or assembly errors or the user just doesn’t know how to use the new “widget”. So there’s a break-in phase.

On the other side of the curve, the failure rate starts increasing again due to wear-out phase, due to aging, rusting, etc.

The NRC has been using that flat middle portion to justify reducing the frequency of inspections … even knowing that all of the plants are heading towards, if not already in, the wear-out phase, where the rate of failure starts increasing again.

So if you reduce the frequency based on the flat part of the curve,  you may not be testing often enough, and things may break before you inspect and replace them.

In other words, the NRC is ignoring one of the fundamental laws of engineering science … which is putting us all at risk.

Moreover, Lochbaum explained that the enormous power the government has to create incentives is leading to unsafe nuclear plants:……


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