Dave Lochbaum

Director, Nuclear Safety Project

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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

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Command and Control

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #17

Disaster by Design

Command and control is often used to describe the authority of military leaders in directing armed forces in battle. It can also refer to senior managers at nuclear power plants and the resources they command and control to fend off safety challenges.

Faulty intelligence, or flawed situational awareness, undermines command and control when leaders have the wrong understanding of hazards and/or response capabilities. Read more >

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Davis-Besse’s Forgotten Fix

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #16

Disaster by Design

The Davis-Besse nuclear plant near Oak Harbor, Ohio is probably best known for a small leak of borated water from the reactor vessel between 1996 and 2002 that corroded six inches of the vessel’s head exposing its stainless steel liner. That quarter-inch thick liner was all that kept the plant from experiencing a very serious loss of coolant accident. Read more >

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ROSS

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #15

Disaster by Design

You probably have noticed by now there’s no shortage of acronyms and abbreviations in the nuclear industry. There are so many that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (sometimes called the NRC) published a report chock-a-block with many of them. Because one can never have too many acronyms, I’ll unveil another one: ROSS, for Race of Safety Snails. Read more >

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Ill Prepared

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #14

Disaster by Design

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #13 described the cost-beneficial safety upgrades identified, but not implemented, by the owner of the Indian Point nuclear plant upwind and upriver of New York City and its millions of inhabitants.

The commentary mentioned that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s regulations required the owner to perform the analysis, called the Severe Accident Mitigation Alternatives (SAMA) analysis, but not to implement cost-beneficial safety upgrades. As stupid and irresponsible as that sounds, it is the case as shown—in black & white—of the NRC’s evaluation of cost-beneficial safety upgrades for the two boiling water reactors at the Dresden nuclear plant upwind of Chicago and its millions of inhabitants (Fig. 1). Read more >

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Look Me in the Eye

Disaster by Design: Safety by Intent #13

Disaster by Design

In 2003, Ohio Citizen Action displayed a large banner beside a primary road used by persons attending the FirstEnergy Board of Directors annual meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. The sentiment in the banner stemmed from years of nuclear neglect at the company’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant outside Toledo, Ohio. Read more >

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