Recent media reports accusing the nuclear energy industry of opposing the installation of filtered vents on Mark I and II boiling water reactors (BWRs) are incorrect. What is really at stake is taking the most meaningful steps at nuclear plants to prevent and manage an accident like the one at Fukushima.
The nuclear energy industry continues to learn a great deal about what happened at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011, and is applying the lessons to make America’s nuclear plants even safer.
Commercial nuclear power plants in the U.S. must be able to prevent and manage an accident like the one at Fukushima.
Clearly, the best way is to not have an accident in the first place. As documented in a report by an independent commission of Japan’s national legislature, U.S. plants are much better regulated, run and prepared than their counterparts in Japan. In addition to the myriad systems installed in U.S. plants to prevent accidents and cope with a severe accident, U.S. plants have become even better prepared since the Fukushima accident. Even if all installed cooling systems were to fail, new portable power and water systems will cool the reactor core and protect spent uranium fuel in storage pools at the facility. These new systems—part of a new diverse and flexible safety strategy (FLEX)—also include additional pre-staged pumps, generators, and other equipment at other nuclear plants and two new regional response centers.