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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. Read More

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Latest Posts

No More Ft. Calhouns!

The nuclear accident at Fukushima, Japan in March 2011, which resulted in the meltdown of three reactors and the release of huge amounts of radiation, led to intense study of the causes of the accident and the catchphrase “No more Fukushimas!”

Last week, Dave Lochbaum released a report that looks in detail at an event that occurred around the same time but garnered much less attention and scrutiny—the shutdown of the Ft. Read More

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www.UNready.gov??

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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Supporting the Nuclear Front Line

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit  #49

NEAT #31 described the NRC’s resident inspectors assigned full-time to each operating nuclear plant as representing the first-line of defenders of nuclear safety. The commentary also cited results from a recent survey by the agency’s Office of the Inspector General revealing that only about half felt that they receive adequate support in performing their duties. Read More

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Obama’s Nuclear Legacy #4: Give Nuclear Weapons a Sole Purpose

As I outlined in an earlier piece, President Obama has the opportunity to make significant changes in nuclear policy in the remaining two years of his presidency—changes that would make every American more secure, while also saving money and enhancing his legacy. Read More

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

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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Accident Sequence Precursors for Nuclear Reactors

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit  #48

I answer hundreds of questions each year from people living close to nuclear plants, reporters, staff members of local, state, and federal officials, and colleagues about a wide array of nuclear safety issues. The queries provide me useful insight about the topics of most interest to people. Read More

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The Man Who Saved the World

There are few stories from the cold war more dramatic than that of Soviet Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov. After all, earning the nickname “the man who saved the world” doesn’t happen everyday. Read More

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Arkansas Nuclear One: Pictures of an Accident

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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Iran’s Fourth Successful Satellite Launch

Despite a report two weeks ago from Medium.com that Iran’s space program was unceremoniously shut down, it appears to be alive and well. Iran successfully launched a small satellite into orbit for the fourth time, just a day ahead of Iran’s national space day. Read More

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Emergency Planning for Nuclear Power Plants

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit #47

The NRC’s regulations include requirements intended to prevent serious nuclear plant accidents from occurring and to mitigate one should it happen. Because these measures, even if fully and faithfully implemented, reduce rather than eliminate the chances of a serious accident, the NRC’s regulations also include requirements to protect the public from radioactivity released during an accident. Read More

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Obama’s Nuclear Legacy #3: Cancel the Cruise Missile

As I outlined in an earlier piece, President Obama has the opportunity to make significant changes in nuclear policy in the remaining two years of his presidency—changes that would make every American more secure, while also saving money and enhancing his legacy. Read More

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TEPCO’s Fukushima Folly

Fission Stories #180

In early August 2014, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced that its latest analysis revealed the meltdown of the Unit 3 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi was worse than previously estimated. Read More

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NRC’s Transparency: Glasnost or Half-Glasnost?

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit #46

The NRC’s words about openness:

Nuclear regulation is the public’s business, and it must be transacted publicly and candidly. The public must be informed about and have the opportunity to participate in the regulatory processes as required by law. Read More

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Obama’s Nuclear Legacy #2: Ending Prompt Launch

As I outlined in an earlier piece, President Obama has the opportunity to make significant changes in nuclear policy in the remaining two years of his presidency—changes that would make every American more secure, while also saving money and enhancing his legacy. Read More

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Red Guards and Nuclear Missiles

China’s nuclear weapons are a source of unending controversy in the United States, in part because the debate is littered with misinformation. The problem is so pervasive that even seasoned researchers have trouble distinguishing fact from fiction. Read More

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Turkey Point Nuclear Plant in Hot Water

Fission Stories #179

Earlier this summer, the owner of the Turkey Point nuclear plant in Florida requested and the NRC approved a change in the maximum limit on cooling water used by plant. For years, the plant had operated with the limit at 100°F. Read More

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Obama’s Nuclear Legacy #1: 1,000 Deployed Warheads

As I outlined in a previous piece, President Obama has the opportunity to make significant changes in nuclear policy in the remaining two years of his presidency—changes that would make every American more secure, while also saving money and enhancing his legacy. Read More

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UCS’s Standard for Nuclear Power Safety

Nuclear Energy Activist Toolkit #45

Past as Prologue

Bob Pollard joined the Union of Concerned Scientists in early 1976 and served as the organization’s primary voice on nuclear power plant safety for nearly 20 years before retiring in January 1996. I joined UCS in the fall of 1996 to take over Bob’s role. Read More

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The Vienna Conference on Nuclear Weapons

I recently returned from the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons (HINW14), the third such conference since March 2013 spearheaded by a number of international civil society organizations and non-nuclear weapons states. These states are growing increasingly impatient with the nuclear weapons states in their lack of progress toward global disarmament—as they pledged to do in Article VI of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).  Read More

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