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Senator Dianne Feinstein, seen here giving a self-facepalm has suggested the federal government perform a massive expensive reevaluation of U.S. plant quake risks. An almost identical comprehensive study was performed three years ago and concluded the nation was safe.  (Source: NewsReal)
Apparently they missed the first study's conclusions

Yesterday we pointed out that a newly released study by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concluded that nuclear power plants in the U.S. were well within acceptable levels of risk and should be deemed safe.  Unfortunately a report by MSNBC largely missed that conclusion.

And apparently they weren't the only ones.  The report has apparently touched off a bout of nuclear hysteria in Congress.  

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chairman of the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee demanded that the NRC perform a costly extensive study to determine if the plants are safe.

They write, "We call on the NRC to conduct a comprehensive investigation of all nuclear facilities in the United States to assess their capacity to withstand catastrophic natural or man-made disasters including scenarios that may be considered remote like the recent events in Japan."

"These domestic nuclear reactors must be fully evaluated to ensure that they are as safe and resilient as possible, that worst case scenarios are examined and addressed, and that personnel training and equipment for emergency responses are in place and up-to-date. Special and immediate attention should be given to those U.S. nuclear reactors that share similar characteristics as the failing reactors in Japan, including similar designs or located near a coastline or seismic fault line."

Apparently they missed the fact that the NRC did almost exactly that 3 years ago in 2008 (the study we referenced in yesterday's piece).  And their conclusion?  We're safe.

The only remaining question is whether Japan's nuclear plant situation would actually change any of the conclusions in the paper.  The answer, for most plants, is probably not.  

Only plants near flood-prone regions, or coastal regions in danger of tsunami strikes, might have additional risks due to the possibility of knocked out backup generators.

While the Senators do suggest an inquiry of such locations, they also ask for much more -- an investigation of "all nuclear facilities" with little factual justification provided.

The proposal also calls for other possibly expensive and unusual suggestions, such as requesting:

How comprehensive is the radiation monitoring system in Japan? Would the U.S. take a similar monitoring approach if a serious accident were to occur here? What increased risk is associated with exposure to mixed oxide fuel?

It also contains alarming language, such as:

Has the NRC modeled what could happen if the U.S. had multiple nuclear accidents simultaneously? If so, how would the NRC respond to such a disaster?

At a time when our nation's federal and state governments are facing huge budget deficits, this should be an excellent test of exactly how frenzied the public is about nuclear power in the U.S.  Will they stand by and support this expensive study, which is essentially a repeat of one just done a couple years ago?

One person is awfully satisfied with the news -- the original MSNBC report's author, Bill Dedman.  He brags of how he motivated the government to push the expensive study repeat, writing, "Three U.S. senators on Thursday called on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to answer for the safety and emergency preparedness at all nuclear facilities in the United States."

"As reported on Wednesday, the NRC has raised its earthquake damage estimates for the nation's 104 commercial nuclear power plants, particularly for those in the eastern and central states, where seismologists say the earthquake risk is higher than previously thought. The estimates by the NRC were provided to, which ranked the reactors by risk."

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RE: America is ruled by idiots
By tigz1218 on 3/17/2011 4:54:29 PM , Rating: 2
"make scientists and really educated/smart people rule the country"

Scientists and people educated by our FEDERAL Education System? I sure hope not.

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By Pirks on 3/17/11, Rating: -1
RE: America is ruled by idiots
By mdogs444 on 3/17/2011 5:22:25 PM , Rating: 5
Bright scientists from all over the world should be welcomed to become the members of the US government.

That would work...if you didn't want to be a sovereign nation with people representing the actual citizens of that country. Else, you'd be nothing more than a citizen of the world, not a citizen of the country.

Thanks, but no thanks. I prefer to live in a country bounded by our own rules, wants, and beliefs...rather than those imposed on us from people of other countries.
will push religious uneducated losers out of the US government and will return the glorious days of the 1960s when Moon was conquered by the US and all mean the "religious uneducated loser" by the name of John F. Kennedy, who was a Catholic, who pushed the space program?

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By Pirks on 3/17/2011 6:35:11 PM , Rating: 2
you'd be nothing more than a citizen of the world
Most advanced/successful people are the citizens of the world. They move between countries freely and find better employment or business opportunities exactly because they are citizens of the world and are not bound to one single country. World has became one global arena a while ago, time to free yourself from the local "country" chains. You can't possibly imagine how much fun and excitement is to move from the US to Germany for instance. Your chains won't let ya!
John F. Kennedy, who was a Catholic, who pushed the space program
It's not Kennedy, it's the science-oriented USSR government of that time who was kicking the US a$$ and pushing Kennedy to move as fast as he can with the space exploration program. (the USSR government was overtaken by dumb uneducated Stalinist fanatics since then and all their scientific and economic progress went down the toilet later, as you know from history)

I guess if Kennedy and all the other presidents after him were top-notch scientists they'd invest much more money in science instead of wars like Iraq and there would be no questions about who's replacing the Space Shuttle now, who's planning the mission to Mars and stuff like that. Even global futuristic science projects like ITER (or prematurely shut down nuclear space engine program) would find a home on the US soil which would be a super major win for the US science and economy. Alas, this is just dreams. Presidents are not educated enough and hence invest money in botched lunacy projects like Iraq etc

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By Amiga500 on 3/17/2011 6:47:05 PM , Rating: 3
It was actually LBJ that pushed the space program. :-)

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By GaryJohnson on 3/18/2011 12:22:43 AM , Rating: 2
I prefer to live in a country bounded by our own rules, wants, and beliefs...rather than those imposed on us from people of other countries.

"I prefer to live in a country bounded by rules imposed on us from people of our own country...rather than those imposed on us from people of other countries."


I prefer to not assume that everyone in my country is looking out for my best interests and that everyone in other countries is looking to harm me.

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By TSS on 3/18/2011 9:34:56 AM , Rating: 2
Mdogs has a point though. You should vote your own best and brightest into office.

If your own best and brightest aren't good enough to govern the country adequately you deserve to go down in flames, so you can rebuild something that's worth a damn. No outside intervention will help you in that case anyway.

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By Ammohunt on 3/18/11, Rating: 0
RE: America is ruled by idiots
By CharonPDX on 3/17/2011 7:53:04 PM , Rating: 4
Last time I checked, we don't have a FEDERAL education system. We have a whole lot of LOCAL education systems.

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By inighthawki on 3/17/2011 10:49:08 PM , Rating: 2
Well, we have state public schools (funded by state taxes). Then many colleges and universities are privately funded, with no or very little help from the federal or state governments. Even WITH funding from the federal government, I fail to see what the OP is getting at. While funding can generally influence curriculum, it rarely has any real outcome on what students leave the school with. It's not like the schools are teaching the students how to be corrupt politicians and lowering budgets on things like maths and sciences.

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By AEvangel on 3/18/2011 10:31:19 AM , Rating: 2
Then many colleges and universities are privately funded, with no or very little help from the federal or state governments.

Not quite you like those Pell Grants or guaranteed federal student loans?

Almost all higher education in this country is in some way funded by the Federal Govt, thus the reason it's becoming too expensive and not worth the cost anymore.

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By The Raven on 3/18/2011 12:15:31 PM , Rating: 1
Ever heard of the Dept. of Education or No Child Left Behind?
Two unneccesary parts of the fed. gov't.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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