Bloomberg News

NRC Panel Chief Urges Faster Action on Rules for Plant Blackouts

November 29, 2011

Nov. 29 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission should expedite a rule requiring plant owners to better prepare for a loss of electrical power, the chairman of an independent advisory panel said.

The NRC staff’s Oct. 3 proposal to establish the rule within 4 1/4 years is “is just way too long for an important action of this type,” Said Abdel-Khalik, chairman of the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, said today during a meeting at the NRC’s Rockville, Maryland, headquarters.

The NRC is weighing regulations for 104 U.S. commercial nuclear reactors after a March earthquake and tsunami interrupted power at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai- Ichi plant, causing meltdowns and radiation leaks. The agency on Oct. 20 directed staff to implement “without delay” seven safety recommendations of a task force, including reviews of seismic and flooding hazards and power losses at plants.

The NRC should move quickly since the Fukushima disaster occurred more than eight months ago, Abdel-Khalik said.

“With all due respect, all we’ve been doing is talk,” he told the commission today.

The advisory panel agrees with an NRC goal to establish the rule within two to three years, agency spokesman David McIntyre said.

--Editors: Steve Geimann, Joe Winski

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Wingfield in Washington at bwingfield3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Liebert at lliebert@bloomberg.net -0- Nov/29/2011 16:41 GMT


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