Nuclear, Reactors

UPDATE Report: Nuclear rules may be interpreted differently across regions

A study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office says that U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) inspectors may not be enforcing rules at nuclear power plants the same across the country, according to the Associated Press, which received a copy of the report before it was released.

The GAO report shows that 3,225 of these violations from 2000 through the end of 2012 across 21 reactors in the West region. In the Southeast region, there were 1,885 violations at 33 reactors. The Midwest region had 3,148 violations with 24 reactors, while the Northeast region had 2,518 violations at 26 reactors.

The report also broke down the numbers by nuclear power plant, with the Cooper nuclear power plant in Nebraska leading all sites with 363 lower-level violations, followed by Wolf Creek in Kansas with 266; Kewaunee in Wisconsin and Perry in Ohio, both with 256; and River Bend in Louisiana with 240, the article said.

Lower-level violations are those considered to pose very low risk. They represent 98 percent of all violations identified by the NRC, the article said.

The discrepancy may be due to regulators in the West region enforcing the rules more aggressively and that common corporate ownership of multiple plants may help push maintenance in the Southeast, the AP said. However, the NRC never fully studied the results, so the real reasons are unknown.

To download the full report, click here.

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