\ˈsāf\: America’s nuclear power plants? via The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

When the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission released its task force’s recommendations for enhancing reactor safety in response to the Fukushima Daiichi accident, an editorial in the Washington Post summarized the findings this way: “America’s plants are safe. But they could be safer.”

Trouble is, the six people on the task force — who collectively have more than 135 years of regulatory experience — never once said this in their 96-page report. Neither did the July 13 press release from the NRC Office of Public Affairs. To the contrary, the press release’s headline emphasized the need for upgrades: “NRC’s Japan Task Force Recommends Changes to Defense in Depth Measures at Nuclear Plants; Cites Station Blackout, Seismic, Flooding and Spent Fuel Pools as Areas for Improvement.” Sure, there is plenty of talk in the task-force report about safety and how to “enhance” it, but the word “safe” doesn’t seem to be in the NRC’s official vocabulary except in reference to the “safe shutdown” of a reactor.

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