Nuclear, Reactors

NRC task force appointed

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has named six senior managers and staff to its task force for examining the agency’s regulatory requirements, programs, processes, and implementation in light of information from the Fukushima Daiichi site in Japan, following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

The task force will be led by Dr. Charles Miller, director of the NRC’s Office of Federal and State Materials and Environmental Management Programs. Other task force members are Daniel Dorman, deputy director of the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS); Jack Grobe, deputy director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR); Gary Holahan, deputy director of the Office of New Reactors (NRO); Nathan Sanfilippo, executive technical assistant, Office of the Executive Director for Operations; and Amy Cubbage, Team Leader, NRO.

“The task force will talk to agency technical experts and gather information to conduct a comprehensive review of the information from the events at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex and make recommendations for any improvements needed to our regulatory system,” Miller said in a statement from NRC.

According to the charter, the task force will conduct a near-term review and identify topics for assessment for a longer term review. A written report is expected to made public 90 days after the start of the review.

Initially, the task force will identify potential near-term actions that affect U.S. power reactors, including their spent fuel pools. Areas to be reviewed include station blackout (loss of all A/C power for a reactor), external events that could lead to a prolonged loss of cooling, plant capabilities for preventing or dealing with such circumstances, and emergency preparedness.

The task force will draw from ongoing NRC inspections to verify availability of plant equipment, procedures, and other resources currently required for dealing with such events. The task force will also gather information from domestic and international sources while remaining independent of any industry initiatives.

The task force expects to develop recommendations for Commission consideration on whether it should require immediate enhancements at U.S. reactors and any changes to NRC regulations, inspection procedures, and licensing processes.

The task force plans to brief the Commission in public meetings on the status of the review on May 12 and June 16.

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