Former nuclear regulatory chief advocates end of nuclear power

A former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says he believes nuclear should be completely phased out, following the Fukushima disaster.

Gregory Jaczko, who stepped down as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2012 says the events at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant show that nuclear power should be phased out in Japan and worldwide.
Gregory Jaczko
  "The lesson has to be: This kind of accident is unacceptable to society. And that's not me saying it. That's society saying that," he said in an interview this week in Tokyo, where he is giving lectures and speaking on panels marking the third anniversary of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that overwhelmed the Fukushima plant.

  The Japanese government is planning to restart several reactors following safety assessments. Nuclear regulators announced Thursday they are beginning the final approval process for the restart of two reactors at a plant on the southernmost main island of Kyushu.

Jaczko said he had always been concerned about nuclear safety. Chernobyl and Three Mile Island were major accidents, but for Jackso, Fukushima definitively undermined industry assumptions such as multiple accidents were unlikely or hydrogen leaks would be controlled.

The idea that a plant wouldn't be under control three or four days after an accident was unthinkable before Fukushima, he said.

"We have defined safety measures against the things that we kind of know. An accident is going to be something that we didn't predict," he said.

In a blog posted on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's website on Thursday (following a visit to the site) Eric Leeds, Director, Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation said he was more convinced than ever "that the Fukushima lessons learned we are requiring the industry to implement are critical to ensure an accident like the one at Fukushima doesn’t happen in the US."

"We have to ensure the licensees fully implement, maintain, and exercise the Fukushima lessons learned. We have to make sure the licensees prepare their facilities and are ready to confront the unexpected. We are the ones who are accountable to and responsible for protecting the American public. It’s our job. For me, it’s personal. It’s what I’m here to do."


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