Raenex writes "An investigation by the Associated Press has found a pattern of safety regulations being relaxed in order to keep aging nuclear power plants running. According to their investigation, when reactor parts fail or systems fall out of compliance with the rules, studies are conducted by the industry and government. The studies conclude that existing standards are 'unnecessarily conservative.' Regulations are loosened, and the reactors are back in compliance. From the article: 'Examples abound. When valves leaked, more leakage was allowed — up to 20 times the original limit. When rampant cracking caused radioactive leaks from steam generator tubing, an easier test of the tubes was devised, so plants could meet standards. Failed cables. Busted seals. Broken nozzles, clogged screens, cracked concrete, dented containers, corroded metals and rusty underground pipes — all of these and thousands of other problems linked to aging were uncovered in the AP's yearlong investigation. And all of them could escalate dangers in the event of an accident.'"