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In keeping with the U.S. nuclear energy industry’s culture of safety, the industry took action immediately after the natural disaster in Japan to ensure the continued safety of America’s nuclear energy facilities. Companies that operate nuclear plants conducted detailed inspections at every nuclear energy facility to make sure that diverse levels of safety equipment are fully operational. The reviews included evaluations of safety and emergency response systems and assessments of personnel resources and safety programs.
The inspection process had a particular focus on issues that presented major challenges in Japan, including:
- Protecting against extreme natural events
- Coping with the loss of all electric power
- Maintaining cooling capability to safeguard spent fuel rods in storage at the plant
- Mitigating flooding and its impact on systems inside and outside the plant
- Ensuring that critical equipment can withstand an earthquake
The nuclear industry coordinated these inspections through the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), an industry organization whose mission is to promote the highest levels of safety throughout the industry. This integration through INPO allowed companies to share information that might improve safety at other plant sites and to create a database from which the industry could outline a strategy to make nuclear plants even safer.
“The American people should have full confidence that the United States has rigorous safety regulations in place to ensure that our nuclear power is generated safely and responsibly…the administration is committed to learning from Japan’s experience as we work to continue to strengthen America’s nuclear industry.”
— Steven Chu
U.S. Secretary of Energy
- 7 Steps Industry Has Taken to Reconfirm Safety, Preparedness at America’s Nuclear Energy Plants
- U.S. Companies Make Safety Enhancements at Nuclear Energy Facilities; EU and Asia Undertake ‘Stress Tests’
- U.S. Industry Taking Steps to Learn Lessons from Japan, Enhance Safety at America’s Nuclear Energy Facilities