Today [Wednesday, October 30, 2013], The Games Began in Monroe Michigan as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (NRC ASLB) started hearings on Detroit Edison’s “Fermi 3 Licensing Project”. Outgunned? Fairewinds’ Arnie Gundersen and the seven expert witnesses retained by the NRC staff and Detroit Edison agree that there was no Quality Assurance (QA) program in place for two years as required by federal law, but the seven industry experts say build it anyway! Damn the safety regulations; full speed ahead to the pork-barrel federal loan guarantees to build a one of a kind Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor.
AG: Okay. Well, the name Fermi and nuclear go together, because there was a famous book We Almost Lost Detroit, and Fermi 1 was a reactor that had a meltdown in the 60’s. On that same site is Fermi 2, which is the largest Mark 1 boiling water reactor in the world. And Mark 1 is identical to Fukushima Daiichi. What is now being proposed by Detroit Edison is to put Fermi 3 there, which would be the biggest reactor in the world; also a boiling water reactor of a new design called an Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor. Notice they don’t talk about it being safer. They just say it’s economic. And there’s a hearing this week. The hearing this week is with the Atomic Safety & Licensing Board. They’re going to be deciding whether or not the license application to build the Fermi 3 reactor is ready to go.
NWJ: Arnie, you’re on record as saying that the BWR Mark 1 reactor is the most susceptible to a meltdown, and in fact, before Fukushima Daiichi, you had said that the next meltdown is going to be at a Mark 1 BWR reactor.
AG: Yeah, this one is the biggest Mark 1 containment in the world. And what the NRC has done is they have allowed all these Mark 1’s to gradually make changes to come in line with Fukushima modifications. But they’re giving Detroit Edison until 2019 to make those modifications. It’s not the subject of the hearing, but it is an example of how the NRC stacks the deck to allow nuclear plants to run when they’re not as safe as they should be.