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Anticipated Transient Without Scram

, former director, Nuclear Safety Project

Role of Regulation in Nuclear Plant Safety #8

In the mid-1960s, the nuclear safety regulator raised concerns about the reliability of the system relied upon to protect the public in event of a reactor transient. If that system failed—or failed again since it had already failed—the reactor core could be severely damaged (as it had during that prior failure.) The nuclear industry resisted the regulator’s efforts to manage this risk. Throughout the 1970s, the regulator and industry pursued non-productive exchange of study and counter-study. Then the system failed again—three times—in June 1980 and twice more in February 1983. The regulator adopted the Anticipated Transient Without Scram rule in June 1984. But it was too little, too late—the hazard it purported to manage had already been alleviated via other means. 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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Nuclear Plant Emergency Preparedness – Re-HAB

, former director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design/ Safety by Intent #38

Disaster by Design

It takes two to tango.

It takes a village to raise a child.

It takes between the tango and the child-rearing numbers to respond to a nuclear plant accident. Read more >

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Severe Accident Management Guidelines for Nuclear Plants

, former director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #22

Disaster by Design

The March 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania showed that the procedures used by workers in responding to accidents could be significantly improved. Read more >

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When Never Isn’t Quite Long Enough

, former director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design: Safety by Intent #9

Disaster by Design

ATWS.

In nukespeak, it stands for Anticipated Transients Without Scram. In carspeak, it might stand for A Tree Without Stopping. When a tree jumps in front of a moving vehicle, good reaction time by the driver and good brakes can avoid or mitigate a car accident. Similarly, rapidly shutting down a nuclear reactor can avoid or mitigate a nuclear plant accident. Read more >

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