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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 AEvangel on 3/17/2011 5:10:02 PM , Rating: 5
This is just another in a long line of bought and paid for wont matter if they are educated with degrees they will still succumb to the corporate greed.

But in your defense Pirks....Barbara Boxer's education...

In 1962, she married Stewart Boxer and graduated from Brooklyn College with a bachelor's degree in Economics. While in college she was a member of Delta Phi Epsilon (social) sorority and was a cheerleader for the Brooklyn College basketball team.

Dude...she is highly qualified she was a cheerleader!!

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By Pirks on 3/17/2011 5:28:04 PM , Rating: 1
they will still succumb to the corporate greed
Everybody succumbs to greed but at least scientists are less prone to making idiotic decisions. Cheerleader will definitely make more dumb decisions, since she can't think. Cheerleaders are not trained to think and their place is definitely not in the government. Their occupation is entertainment, and they should stay there.

Besides, scientists are not as interested in flexing military muscles, hence less chance to get into another Iraq, you know.

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By AEvangel on 3/17/2011 5:56:47 PM , Rating: 3
Everybody succumbs to greed but at least scientists are less prone to making idiotic decisions.

I would not say everyone....there are a few members of Congress and Senate that have not, also I'm sure given time we can find plenty of examples where scientists have succumb to the greed of funding and misrepresented their data and made complete fools of themselves...AGW come to mind.

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By torpor on 3/17/2011 5:51:43 PM , Rating: 3
Dude...she is highly qualified she was a cheerleader!!

Explains why she's screwing everything in sight....

RE: America is ruled by idiots
By rcc on 3/18/2011 1:41:16 PM , Rating: 3
Hot Damn!!! Can we send her back to Brooklyn????

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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