Fission Stories

U.S. reactors have experienced hundreds of safety failures, large and small. This series tells the stories of those failures, drawing lessons for what we should be doing better.


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Latest Fission Stories Posts

Browns Ferry Barbeque

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Fission Stories #195

Workers restarted the Unit 1 boiling water reactor (BWR) at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant near Athens, Alabama in early November 2014 following a routine refueling outage. Read more >

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Chillin’ at the NRC: Surprising Survey Results

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Fission Stories #194

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has two formal programs for its workers to use when they disagree with the agency’s decisions and positions. (These programs complement informal processes where workers can discuss issues with supervisors and colleagues.) One is called the Non-Concurrence process and the other is the Differing Professional Opinion program. How free do NRC staff feel to use these? Read more >

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New, Renewed, and Subsequent Nuclear Reactor Risks

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Fission Stories #193

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) initially licenses nuclear power reactors for operation up to 40 years. The NRC can renew the operating licenses for up to 20 additional years, as it has already done for about three quarters of the reactors in the United States. And the nuclear industry is discussing “subsequent license renewal” with the NRC for potentially 20 more years. Read more >

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Palisades 50

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Fission Stories #192

Much has been said and written about the Fukushima 50—the workers who remained onsite during the height of the crisis at the Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant after senior managers ordered their co-workers to evacuate because of worsening conditions.

Less has been said and written about the Palisades 50—which involves worsening conditions and workers but not quite in the same way. Palisades 50 refers to the findings by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) during a recent inspection at this nuclear plant five miles from South Haven, Michigan. Read more >

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Nuclear Stock Market

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Fission Stories #191

News such as last year’s closure of four nuclear power reactors, this year’s closure of another reactor, and Exelon’s claim that many of its reactors cannot break even absent even greater subsidies suggests that now might not be the best time to invest in nuclear technology. But it doesn’t mean that nuclear technology need not be considered when playing the stock market. Read more >

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