alvinvogtle


Vogtle and Hatch: Have Cost Over-Runs Undermined Safety Performance?

, former director, Nuclear Safety Project

In August 2018, Georgia Power announced raised its estimate of the construction costs for its 45.7% share of the two new reactors being constructed at the Vogtle nuclear plant by $1.1 billion from $7.3 billion to $8.4 billion. Assuming the company lacked warehouses stuffed with money, the cost over-run raised an important question: has the hemorrhaging budget for constructing Vogtle Units 3 and 4 taken funding or distracted management attention away from the company’s operating reactors—Vogtle Units 1 and 2 and Hatch Units 1 and 2—and undermined their nuclear safety performance? Read more >

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Role of Regulation in Nuclear Plant Safety: A New Series of Posts

, former director, Nuclear Safety Project

President Trump seeks to lessen the economic burden from excessive regulation. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) initiated Project AIM before the 2016 elections seeking to right-size the agency and position it to become more adaptive to shifting needs in the future. And the nuclear industry launched its Delivering the Nuclear Promise campaign seeking productivity and efficiency gains to enable nuclear power to compete better against natural gas and other sources of electricity.

In light of these concurrent efforts, we will be reviewing momentous events in nuclear history and posting a series of commentaries on the role of regulation in nuclear plant safety. The objective is to better understand under-regulation and over-regulation to better define “Goldilocks” regulation—regulation that is neither too lax nor too onerous, but just right. That better understanding will enable us to engage the NRC more effectively as the agency pursues Project AIM and the industry tries to deliver on its promise. Read more >

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Why NRC Nuclear Safety Inspections are Necessary: Vogtle

, former director, Nuclear Safety Project

This is the third in a series of commentaries about the vital role nuclear safety inspections conducted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) play in protecting the public. This commentary describes how NRC inspectors discovered inadequate flooding protection at the Vogtle nuclear plant near Waynesboro, Georgia despite a prior warning notice. Read more >

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Commendable Effort: NRC Improves Its Operator Licensing Process

, former director, Nuclear Safety Project

A recurring theme among my commentaries is that actions taken by plant owners and the NRC only fix broken widgets and do not fix the assembly lines creating them. In the case described here, the NRC could have remedied the broken widget by issuing the Senior Reactor Operator license as directed by the ASLB. But the NRC sought the bigger and better fix by voluntarily reviewing its operator licensing process with the aim of making it clearer and more consistent. Read more >

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Dark and Dangerous: Station Blackout

, former director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design: Safety by Intent #10

Disaster by Design

The March 2011 disaster at Fukushima Dai-ichi was a costly reminder of a lesson learned decades ago—nuclear power reactors need electricity for safety reasons. Read more >

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