NRC to consider solar flare nuclear safety petition

A petition requesting that nuclear plants be required to maintain backup spent fuel cooling systems capable of operating autonomously for two years without refueling will receive full consideration, the NRC announced this week.

The petition contends that “a massive solar flare could potentially disable large portions of the US electrical grid for an extended period of time,” according to a statement from the NRC. Such a blackout, the petition states, could leave nuclear plants without an offsite energy source to power cooling systems for spent fuel pools.

The petition was filed in March of 2011 by Thomas Popik, founder and sole media contact for the Foundation for Resilient Societies, “a committee of engineers dedicated to protecting technologically-advanced societies from natural disasters,” according to the foundation’s website.

The NRC took comments from the public on the petition before determining that it would give Popik’s concerns further examination. Moving forward, the NRC will monitor the progress of activities being undertaken in response to Fukushima, and, if those measures are deemed inadequate, the regulator will work to develop a technical basis for the suggested rule change.

"If such a basis cannot be established," the NRC said in its statement, "the NRC will update the public on why the petition’s suggestions were not adopted."

Subscribe to Nuclear Power International magazine

Did You Like this Article? Get All the Energy Industry News Delivered to Your Inbox

Subscribe to an email newsletter today at no cost and receive the latest news and information.

 Subscribe Now

Whitepapers

Maximizing Operational Excellence

In a recent survey conducted by PennEnergy Research, 70% of surveyed energy industry professional...

Leveraging the Power of Information in the Energy Industry

Information Governance is about more than compliance. It’s about using your information to drive ...

Reduce Engineering Project Complexity

Engineering document management presents unique and complex challenges. A solution based in Enter...

Revolutionizing Asset Management in the Electric Power Industry

With the arrival of the Industrial Internet of Things, data is growing and becoming more accessib...