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Dave Lochbaum

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About the author: 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

Perils of New Nuclear Fuel: Part 4 – Grand Gulf’s Painted Water

Fission Stories #189

The previous two Fission Stories commentaries (#187 and #188) described problems at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station near Port Gibson, Mississippi involving new fuel bundles stored in the new fuel vault and later in transferring them into the spent fuel pool. This post caps the trilogy by describing a problem encountered with the new fuel bundles in the spent fuel pool. Read More

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Nuclear Near-Misses

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit #55

UCS launched a series of annual reports on the NRC and nuclear power plant safety in 2011. The reports share a common template for what is covered and how it is presented. The reports have something else in common—unanticipated controversies inside and outside UCS regarding our decision to use “near miss” to describe the events summarized in Chapter 2 of the reports. Read More

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Perils of New Nuclear Fuel: Part 3 – Grand Gulf’s Safety Suspension

Fission Stories #188

The previous Fission Stories commentary described a problem at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station near Port Gibson, Mississippi that prevented workers from transferring fuel bundles from the new fuel vault to the spent fuel pool. This post describes a problem encountered shortly after that problem was eliminated and the transfers began. Read More

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Elder of the US Nuclear Power Plants

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit #54

Hyman G. Rickover has often been referred to as the “Father of the Nuclear Navy.” It is even engraved on his tombstone in Arlington Cemetery. Read More

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Perils of New Nuclear Fuel: Part 2 – Grand Gulf’s Mighty Pen

Fission Stories #187

The previous Fission Stories commentary described a problem with new nuclear fuel encountered at Browns Ferry in the early 1980s. This commentary sustains that theme by describing another problem with new nuclear fuel, this time at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station near Port Gibson, Mississippi. Read More

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Nuclear Safety Imperfection

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit #53

NEAT #52 acknowledged the stellar results achieved by Catawba Unit 2, LaSalle Unit 1, and South Texas Project Unit 1 by remaining in Column 1 of the NRC’s Action Matrix for every one of the ROP’s first 56 quarters. They were the only three reactors in the nation to compile perfect attendance records.

This blog post discusses reactors that spent little time in Column 1 over that same 14-year period. Read More

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Perils of New Nuclear Fuel: Part 1 – Browns Ferry’s Midnight Ride

Fission Stories #186

Much has been written about the perils of nuclear fuel when it resides in the core of a nuclear power reactor and later when it is spent fuel stored here, there and everywhere. But new nuclear fuel has proven problematic at times, too. This is the first of a quartet of stories about new fuel problems. Read More

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Nuclear Safety Perfection

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit #52

56

It’s the sum of six consecutive prime numbers (3, 5, 7, 11, 13, and 17). Read More

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Nuclear Plant Aging

Fission Stories #185

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) originally licensed nuclear power reactors to operate for up to 40 years. Beginning in 2000, the NRC relicensed nuclear power reactors to operate for up to an additional 20 years. And there has been interest within the nuclear industry about for relicensing for yet another 20 years. Read More

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Watts Bar Community Action Panel

Last year, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) created a Community Action Panel (CAP) as its Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor neared the end of construction and prepared to request that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issue an operating license. Read More

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