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Leaked Report Suggests Long-Known Flood Threat To Nuclear Plants, Safety Advocates Say via Huffington Post

An un-redacted version of a recently released Nuclear Regulatory Commission report highlights the threat that flooding poses to nuclear power plants located near large dams — and suggests that the NRC has misled the public for years about the severity of the threat, according to engineers and nuclear safety advocates.

“The redacted information shows that the NRC is lying to the American public about the safety of U.S. reactors,” said David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer and safety advocate with the Union of Concerned Scientists.

A redacted version of the report was posted to the NRC website on March 6. An un-redacted version was recently obtained by the environmental group Greenpeace and shared with The Huffington Post.

Among other things, evidence in the report indicates that the NRC has known for at least the last six years, and perhaps much longer, that failure of a dam upriver from the Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina would cause floodwaters to overwhelm the plant’s three reactors and their cooling equipment — not unlike what befell Japan’s Fukushima Dai-chi facility after an earthquake and tsunami struck last year. Three reactors at Fukushima experienced a full meltdown, which contaminated surrounding farmland and exiled hundreds of thousands of residents.

According to the NRC’s own calculations, which were also withheld in the version of the report released in March, the odds of the dam near the Oconee plant failing at some point over the next 22 years are far higher than were the odds of an earthquake-induced tsunami causing a meltdown at the Fukushima plant.

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