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US Nuclear Industry Plans "Rescue Wagon" To Avert Meltdowns 184

Hugh Pickens writes writes "AP reports that if disaster strikes a US nuclear power plant, the utility industry wants the ability to fly in heavy-duty equipment from regional hubs to stricken reactors to avert a meltdown providing another layer of defense in case a Fukushima-style disaster destroys a nuclear plant's multiple backup systems. 'It became very clear in Japan that utilities became quickly overwhelmed,' says Joe Pollock, vice president for nuclear operations at the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry lobbying group that is spearheading the effort. US nuclear plants already have backup safety systems and are supposed to withstand the worst possible disasters in their regions, including hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes. But planners can be wrong. The industry plan, called FLEX, is the nuclear industry's method for meeting new US Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules that will force 65 plants in the US to get extra emergency equipment on site and store it protectively. The FLEX program is supposed to help nuclear plants handle the biggest disasters. Under the plan, plant operators can summon help from the regional centers in Memphis and Phoenix. In addition to having several duplicate sets of plant emergency gear, industry officials say the centers will likely have heavier equipment that could include an emergency generator large enough to power a plant's emergency cooling systems, equipment to treat cooling water and extra radiation protection gear for workers. Federal regulators must still decide whether to approve the plans submitted by individual plants. 'They need to show us not just that they have the pump, but that they've done all the appropriate designing and engineering so that they have a hookup for that pump,' says NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said. 'They're not going to be trying to figure out, "Where are we going to plug this thing in?"'"
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US Nuclear Industry Plans "Rescue Wagon" To Avert Meltdowns

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  • Re:I call Band-Aid (Score:3, Informative)

    by sinij ( 911942 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @03:33PM (#42244885)
    Not Chernobyl hysteria again. Different reactor design, plus in Chernobyl's case safety mechanisms and fallbacks were intentionally disabled in attempt to prevent safety shutdown. They succeeded in overriding safety shutdown and melted whole thing.

    In case of Japanese disaster - yes, they had time to react.They probably had enough time to had it fly from US, had something like that was available.
  • by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Monday December 10, 2012 @03:41PM (#42244977) Homepage Journal

    Given the consequences of an accident, the safety record of nuclear power is appalling.

    If you have any concept of critical thinking, this sentence is appalling. What does the safety record (which is still 0 fatalities, 0 health side effects, 0 long term ecological disruptions) have to do with the potential outcome of an accident? The same can't be said for any other form of large scale energy production in the US, let alone almost every other human pursuit. Coal kills, and that is appalling.

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