Dave Lochbaum

Director, Nuclear Safety Project

Author image
Mr. Lochbaum received a BS in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Tennessee in 1979 and worked as a nuclear engineer in nuclear power plants for 17 years. In 1992, he and a colleague identified a safety problem in a plant where they were working. When their concerns were ignored by the plant manager, the utility, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), they took the issue to Congress. The problem was eventually corrected at the original plant and at plants across the country. Lochbaum joined UCS in 1996 to work on nuclear power safety. He spent a year in 2009-10 working at the NRC Training Center in Tennessee. Areas of expertise: Nuclear power safety, nuclear technology and plant design, regulatory oversight, plant license renewal and decommissioning

Subscribe to Dave's posts

Dave's Latest Posts

Update on the NRC Seven: Petitioning the NRC over safety

Earlier this year, I blogged about seven NRC employees who petitioned the NRC to take enforcement action against plant owners for violating regulatory requirements (such as General Design Criterion 17) related to an open phase condition. This safety problem affects every operating nuclear plant in the U.S. except Seabrook in New Hampshire. Read more >

Bookmark and Share

Special Nuclear Inspection: River Bend Loss of Shutdown Cooling

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sent a special inspection team to the River Bend nuclear plant near St. Francisville, Louisiana on February 8, 2016, to investigate an event in which cooling of the reactor core was interrupted for over an hour on January 10 when the reactor was shut down. The NRC’s special inspection team identified four violations of regulatory requirements characterized as Green findings, the least serious among the agency’s green, white, yellow, and red classifications.

Read more >

Bookmark and Share

Nuclear Plant Containment Failure: Potpourri

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #33

Disaster by Design

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #30 discussed how containment structures can be adversely affected by high internal pressure experienced during an accident. Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #31 discussed how containments can be adversely affected by damage/degradation that existed even before an accident started. Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #32 covered times when isolation devices (e.g. doors, valves, dampers) failures created potential pathways for radioactivity to escape containment. This commentary follows that theme, describing a hodge-podge of ways containment performance capability was impaired. Read more >

Bookmark and Share

Nuclear Plant Containment Failure: Isolation Devices

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #32

Disaster by Design

Containment structures at nuclear power plants have multiple purposes. Containments protect vital safety equipment from damage caused from external events like high winds and the debris they can fling. And containments protect nearby communities against radiation released from reactor cores damaged during accidents. Read more >

Bookmark and Share

Nuclear Plant Containment Failure: Pre-Existing Damage

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #31

Disaster by Design

Federal regulations require that nuclear plant containments withstand the temperature, pressure, hydrodynamic forces, humidity, and other consequences from design basis accidents and limit the amount of radioactivity to the atmosphere. By limiting the radioactivity release, containments minimize the harm to nearby populations and the environment.

The surest way for a containment to be damaged after an accident and be unable to fulfill this safety function is for it to be damaged before the accident starts. Read more >

Bookmark and Share