Nuclear watchdogs divided over safety recommendations

Members of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) were divided on how soon recommendations should be implemented from a task force report that called for an overhaul of safety measures and more oversight of the U.S. nuclear industry.

The Associated Press reported that three of the panel's five members said they do not believe they can vote on the full report within 90 days. NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko was quoted as saying action on the recommendations was possible in that time frame.

An NRC task force recommended a series of changes July 13 to make U.S. nuclear plants better prepared for unexpected incidents such as prolonged blackouts or damage to multiple reactors. The task force report also called for the existing “patchwork” of regulations to be updated and standardized. The task force was put in place following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. That accident led to loss of cooling systems at spent fuel pools and the release of radiation into the air.

NRC Commissioner William Ostendorff was quoted as saying that half of the recommendations needed to be implemented immediately, while some require more information.

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