Guest Commentary

Southern Nuclear's SAM Program Director David Gambrell

Southern Nuclear's SAM Program Director David Gambrell

David Gambrell serves as director of Southern Nuclear’s Severe Accident Management (SAM) team — a group formed in July 2011 to help influence regulations in response to the event at Fukushima and other natural external hazard events in the United States. The mission of this team is to prepare Southern Nuclear’s fleet for anticipated changes in facilities, procedures and processes.

Gambrell shares his take on the current state of the industry and the action Southern Nuclear has taken as a result.

What has happened in this country since Fukushima?

After March 11, 2011, the United States immediately began to examine our own procedures and designs to determine where improvements can be made to keep our plants safe during natural events.
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NEI's President and Chief Executive Marvin Fertel

Guest Commentary by Marvin Fertel
President and Chief Executive Officer
Nuclear Energy Institute

One year ago, a powerful earthquake and tsunami devastated the northeast coast of Japan, leaving more than 19,000 people dead or missing and thousands more homeless. We continue to remember the Japanese people for all that they lost in this horrible act of nature and continue to support their recovery. The entire world marveled at the resilience of the Japanese people in the face of this calamity.

Those of us in the nuclear energy industry were particularly struck by the tireless efforts of the workers who, in the face of destruction of the storm and uncertainty for their families, labored to stabilize the damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
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Charles Pardee

Exelon Generation Co.'s Chief Operating Officer Charles Pardee

Guest Commentary by Charles Pardee
Chief Operating Officer of
Exelon Generation Co.
Chairman of the Fukushima Response Steering Committee

Nearly a year after a massive earthquake and tsunami disabled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, the U.S. nuclear energy industry remains dedicated to applying lessons learned from these events to enhance safety at the nation’s 104 reactors. Over the past year, both the industry and the independent U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), have systematically reviewed the events for applicable lessons and independently assessed areas to target for safety improvements at nuclear energy facilities. These reviews complemented ongoing safety inspections at nuclear energy facilities.

As part of these reviews, the U.S. nuclear industry:

  • verified that all systems to mitigate potential damage are functioning
  • completed inspections of systems that protect plants against extreme natural events
  • is enhancing protection of used fuel storage pools
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Tony Pietrangelo

NEI's Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Tony Pietrangelo

Guest Commentary by Anthony Pietrangelo
Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer, Nuclear Energy Institute

Source: Real Clear Energy

When a 100-year earthquake and powerful hurricane delivered a one-two punch on the East Coast, some in the media focused on nuclear energy facilities in harm’s way. The coverage raised the inevitable question: Would the facilities be able to withstand Mother Nature’s wrath?

At least a dozen nuclear energy facilities, from North Carolina to Michigan, registered vibration from the August 23 earthquake. The temblor hit hardest at the North Anna Power Station in central Virginia, located about 10 miles from the quake’s epicenter. Four days later, many of those same plants and a few others – 15 plants, total – were in the path of Hurricane Irene.

So what happened? As planned, not much.

Layer upon layer of safety systems and exacting preparedness procedures worked in every case.
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Maria Korsnick

Constellation Energy Nuclear Group's Chief Nuclear Officer Maria Korsnick

Guest Commentary by Maria Korsnick
Chief Nuclear Officer, Constellation Energy Nuclear Group (CENG)
Member of the Fukushima Response Steering Committee

It is hard to believe that six months have passed since a massive earthquake and a tsunami with a 45-foot wall of water struck Japan on March 11, causing death, injuries, and millions and millions of dollars in destruction.

This tragedy is still on our minds and our thoughts are with the Japanese people.

The natural disaster also severely damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, prompting important and valid questions about the nuclear energy industry’s safety, security and ability to respond to a myriad of “what if” scenarios.

One fact is clear: Nuclear plant operators go to great lengths to produce electricity safely, reliably and economically. Multiple layers of physical security, back-up systems to the back-up systems and high levels of operational performance protect the employees, public and the environment.
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First