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

Nuclear Plant Aging

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

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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When Open Door Policies at Nuclear Plants Go Awry

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Fission Stories #184

Nuclear industry and NRC representatives often talk and write about their Open Door policies. For example, Doug Coe and June Cai, leaders of a task force formed to examine the NRC’s internal safety culture, briefed their Chairman and Commissioners on the agency’s Open Door policy for concerns raised by NRC staffers. And the owner of the Wolf Creek nuclear plant in Kansas recently informed the NRC about steps it had taken and planned to cultivate and maintain a safety conscious work environment in response to NRC’s concerns about reasons some workers had been terminated.

But not every Open Door is a good thing. Read more >

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www.UNready.gov??

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Fission Stories #183

The NRC’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently issued a report on its audit of the agency’s communications security program. The NRC’s headquarters, regional and resident inspector offices have special equipment that is used to exchange classified information during routine and emergency conditions. Read more >

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Millstone Unit 3 Reactor’s AFW Near-Miss (to be continued)

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Fission Stories #182

Redundancy and diversity are two keys elements of nuclear power plant safety. The auxiliary feedwater (AFW) system for the Unit 3 reactor at the Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford, Connecticut illustrates these principles. Read more >

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Arkansas Nuclear One: Pictures of an Accident

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Fission Stories #181

The drop of a heavy load at the Arkansas Nuclear One nuclear plant on March 31, 2013, was described in Fission Stories #139 based largely on the report on the accident by the NRC’s augmented inspection team. The NRC recently released hundreds of photographs taken of the heavy load, the damage it inflicted when dropped, and the extensive repairs undertaken at the plant. Read more >

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