Posts Tagged NRC
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 authorized the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to issue regulations making it a Federal crime to introduce explosives into facilities and installations containing nuclear materials. The new rules go into affect in April 2010 and specify fines of up to $5,000 and jail time up to one year for anyone who “willfully” introduces firearms or explosives into a facility regulated by the NRC. The new rule authorizes the FBI and other federal agencies to investigate and prosecute the cases.
On the surface it seems like a good idea, right? Unfortunately, it’s yet another example of regulation without added safety benefit. Anyone who has ever been in a nuclear facility knows it is illegal to bring weapons and firearms through the gate. There are already signs posted, and violators of the rules could already be charged and prosecuted under state laws. According to the NRC, there have been occasions where workers or vendors accidentally brought weapons on site, but never intentionally or with intent to do harm, so I have to wonder what problem they are trying to fix?
The NRC is considering a change to their fee structure for small reactors, and invited public comment. Here is a copy of the letter I sent.
Attention: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff
Subject: Comments on the Proposed Changes to Licensing Fees for Small Reactors
To Whom It May Concern:
I graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy with a Bachelors Degree in Marine Engineering with a concentration in Nuclear Engineering. I have more than 20 years of experience operating nuclear reactors for the US Navy and in the commercial power industry. I was Engineering Office of the Watch and Plant Engineer qualified at the S3G nuclear prototype, and I have held Senior Reactor Operator Licenses at the Turkey Point and Indian Point nuclear plants. Having operated both small and large reactors, I can speak from personal experience that small reactors can be designed, built, and operated with equal certainty and safety as large power reactors. In fact, small reactors have many advantages over large reactors that can be used to increase safety margins if the designer so chooses. Examples include natural circulation, air-cooled decay heat removal, and enhanced security features. From my informed point of view there is no technical basis for concern that small reactors pose excessive risk to public health and safety.
President Obama Promotes International Nuclear Fuel Bank
At a speech delivered in Prague, Czech Republic this week President Obama advocated establishing an international nuclear fuel bank. The idea is this: countries who pledge not to develop nuclear weapons programs and who do not enrich uranium would have the assurance of a stable fuel supply for their peaceful nuclear energy programs. Countries who posses the ability to enrich uranium under the International Non-Proliferation Treaty would provide the service for the international community. Much of the initial fuel in the bank would come from diluting weapons grade uranium, essentially continuing efforts begun by Russia and the USA to reduce weapons stockpiles.