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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 msnbc.com 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 msnbc.com, which ranked the reactors by risk."


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RE: America is ruled by idiots
By tng on 3/17/2011 4:58:20 PM , Rating: 5
Correction it should read "America is ruled by a bureaucracy."

The difference is that in the bureaucracy, people who have no other skills other than public relations, can rise to levels of leadership within it base on their own PR. People who are intelligent and have real skills don't want the job and you can't blame them.

Since they live by the PR it does not matter if they have all the info at hand, since they have to be seen to do something, so they will ask for a whole new study.

Government is full of people who have no real idea of the realities of life outside the bureaucracy they are in and hence will make bad policy since they have no connections to the rest of us and will never have to experience first hand the damage they inflict on the rest of us.


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By dgingeri on 3/17/2011 6:25:50 PM , Rating: 3
"The greatest enemy to democracy is a bureaucracy that is untouchable by the voters."

in the US, we have 4, that I have counted: the EPA, the FCC, the FTC, and the SEC. If anyone knows any more, please chime in. :)


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By kdogg4536 on 3/17/2011 7:01:26 PM , Rating: 5
FEMA and Homeland Security trump all others.


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By YashBudini on 3/17/2011 7:45:02 PM , Rating: 5
Lobbyists run the country.


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By chick0n on 3/17/2011 11:27:23 PM , Rating: 2
What about TSA?


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By Totally on 3/17/2011 11:46:06 PM , Rating: 2
TSA falls under Homeland Security


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By TSS on 3/18/2011 9:55:54 AM , Rating: 4
For that matter we need to stop saying America is capitalist too. America today is Corperalist. The interest of Corperations goes above everything else, including sound fiscal policy.

Besides it's not very capitalist to expand the money supply until everybody is broke. I doubt many capitalists of old would devalue their currency 95% over 50 years. Not to mention borrow money you don't have far beyond the point of ever beeing able to pay it back, thats just not sound business practice.


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By Ammohunt on 3/18/2011 2:43:31 PM , Rating: 1
From your professor’s mouth to typed word for word in this forum. I guess you skipped instruction in deductive reasoning. EVIL CORPORATIONS! CORPORATING!


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By ClownPuncher on 3/18/2011 3:51:04 PM , Rating: 2
It sounded more like "no more federally funded corporate wellfare".

Can I introduce you to TARP and Stimulus? No? OK, continue rant.


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By fteoath64 on 3/18/11, Rating: -1
RE: America is ruled by idiots
By tng on 3/18/11, Rating: 0
RE: America is ruled by idiots
By rcc on 3/18/2011 1:12:43 PM , Rating: 2
I agree they have serious issues, however, for your sake, and everyone else's, I hope you never have to experience a country that has no such oversight.


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By rcc on 3/18/2011 1:09:21 PM , Rating: 3
IRS


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By fic2 on 3/18/2011 1:39:37 PM , Rating: 2
BLM which controls mining and mineral management. They have the same incestuous relationship with the big corps as the SEC does with Wall Street.
Whichever bureaucracy controls the Native American trust - probably the BLM also but I am not sure.

For a good look at the SEC and Wall Street read:
Why Isn't Wall Street In Jail
http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/why-isnt...


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By rcc on 3/18/2011 1:54:21 PM , Rating: 2
BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs), Department of the Interior.


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By Breakfast Susej on 3/17/2011 6:42:53 PM , Rating: 5
One of the unfortunate and ultimately fatal flaws of democratic society. No human political system is anywhere near adequate much less perfect mind you. But if it were easy to dream up a perfect solution someone might have by now.

It is my fear that western society will inevitably be crushed under it's own decadence as we become more and more reliant on other cultures to provide us with the cheap goods our corporations use to keep us all placated in an orgy of spending and consumption.

At least that is what it seems like more and more to me. We exist only to consume all the gadgets, toys, media, and other nonsense. All these material goods we don't actually need that we wear the yoke around our necks churning away, working for, to show our status among each-other. All the while blind to what it really exists for. To keep us churning away and passing our dollars up the line to the ruling class who is holding the carrot on the stick in front of our face saying, look! You too can be rich like us if you just work, work, work(but you never will because in reality you are just throwing all your earnings down the status tube to buy the shit you don't need, blunt your misery with material goods, and make them even richer.)

Meanwhile the rising nations such as China who work slave labor to make all these goods to pander to our ego's our desires, our never ending pageant of status and wealth, continue to labor away, eclipsing us in knowledge, numbers, and initiative.

Eventually the rising nations will throw off the yoke and grind our fat decadent uneducated selves beneath their boot. Or at least this is what I fear when I think about society at length.

Maybe I just need a tinfoil hat, or maybe it ultimately doesn't matter, at least to me. Since I will be long dead(or so I hope,) by the time that day dawns.


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By Pirks on 3/17/11, Rating: 0
By Breakfast Susej on 3/18/2011 12:07:57 PM , Rating: 2
I try not to base my conclusions in such a way as to let an opinion piece that I read on a tech site be the single deciding factor in where the wind blows my opinion any given day.

Nor would I be as presumptuous to call someone out as wrong on an ultimately philosophical opinion point based on yet another opinion point that I read.


RE: America is ruled by idiots
By Iaiken on 3/18/2011 9:48:25 AM , Rating: 2
If you are smart enough to be the president, then you know better than to run for president... ;)


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