U.S. orders new safety upgrades at nuclear plants via CNN

Washington (CNN) — U.S. regulators are directing 31 nuclear reactors similar in design to the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan, where an earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown two years ago, to take additional steps to help contain radiation and other damage from any accident that is not quickly halted.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission directive on Thursday requires enhancements to systems for venting accumulated pressure from containment structures during an emergency. Vents must also be able to safely handle rising temperatures, hydrogen concentrations and radiation levels.
“Strengthened vents will help these plants continue to protect the public and the environment even if emergency systems can’t immediately stop an accident,” NRC Chairman Allison Macfarlane said in a statement.
“By safely releasing built-up pressure and hydrogen, the plants will preserve the buildings that contain radioactive material,” she said.
The NRC also plans to develop a rule to improve the filtering of radioactive material from any vented gases and to improve procedures for preserving the integrity of containment systems.
Kraft • 21 hours ago −
When you scrape away all the technobabble and government geek-speak in this announcement it’s important to recognize that at the end of the day, to protect the reactor containment from breaking apart, the operators have to release radiation into the environment and surrounding communities. The containments were supposed to PROTECT the environment and people from the radiation in the first place; but in this design it’s the opposite: we get zapped with radiation to protect epic fail of the Mark-I and –II containments. That’s because the NRC — by a 1 to 4 vote of the Commission — stopped short of ordering the vents to have filters –like they already do in Europe, and like even the ethically challenged TEPCO company in Japan is installing. The lone dissenter — the former Chairperson Greg Jaczko — was forced out of his position by unsubstantiated allegations from the other 4 Commissioners that he was “divisive”. So much for NRC protecting the public.

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