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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 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.

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