U.S. Nuclear Plants Getting Further Review For Safety [AUDIO]
It's been almost ten months since the earthquake and tsunami caused major damage to a Japanese nuclear power plant. A safety panel with the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been reviewing plants all across the country ever since the incident and they plan to continue to make sure everything is 100 percent at all times.
The General Electric Mark 1 reactor has come into question during the past few months. It's the same design as the one in Japan and is used by about 23 plants across the country including the nation's oldest nuclear generator which sits in Ocean County. The Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant in Lacey Township is one of the many that will get further oversight as a precaution. It's proximity to homes and the valuable Jersey Shore has made some environmentalists more concerned than ever before.
About 8,000 petition signatures have come to the NRC office. They include pleas from environmental groups to review whether approvals by the federal agency for venting systems should be revoked. Members of Beyond Nuclear, New Jersey Environmental Federation and Grandmothers, Mothers, and More for Energy Safety all support the review.
However, while NRC Spokesman Neil Sheehan says he appreciates their work on this, the NRC was planning to address these issues way before they heard from the groups. Sheehan says "from the time when the meltdown in Japan occurred, we've been working on getting reviews set in motion. We have also seen plants around the country respond well to our requirements and recommendations."
The NRC safety panel has agreed with petitioners to review whether additional emergency backup power systems should be installed to cool radioactive waste ponds, which sometimes sit on the roofs of reactor buildings.
The Oyster Creek Plant will close in 2019, almost ten years earlier than scheduled because cooling tower construction at the site would be too expensive for plant owner Exelon.