NEI and 4 embattled Commissioners face off versus Jaczko, Reid, and Markey

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The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) gave a public statement regarding the recent controversy at the NRC.  Taking the side of the 4 accused commissioners, NEI seemingly placed the blame on Commissioner Jaczko, despite the facts as argued by U.S. Representative Markey showing the collusion within the NRC to limit the lessons learned from Fukushima.

“Safe performance of nuclear energy facilities and the NRC’s credibility are the two most important factors for policymaker and public confidence in nuclear energy. As such, the industry is concerned with anything that threatens the credibility of either,” Marvin Fertel, president of the industry group said.

NEI’s Fertel said, “The issue that is of most concern is the question of a chilled working environment at the agency, including the possibility of staff intimidation and harassment, at a time when the senior management and staff are working on critical licensing activities and post-Fukushima safety recommendations. The industry takes safety culture issues seriously and we expect the same priority treatment of these issues by our regulator.”

U.S. Representative Edward Markey blamed the four commissioners who sent the letter to the White House saying they were impeding U.S. nuclear safety reviews after the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant inJapan following a massive earthquake and tsunami.

“The actions of these four commissioners since the Fukushima nuclear disaster has caused a regulatory meltdown that has left America’s nuclear fleet and the general public at risk,” said Markey, a Democrat and a long-time nuclear critic.

Over the weekend, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid also defended Jaczko, a man he helped put into power.

These types of findings are to be expected as the industry becomes more resource starved, as it faces losing many resources in the global perspective, uranium prices dropping, and AREVA‘s recent disclosure that they will be facing many financial difficulties in the coming years.  Since it’s existence, the NEI has been far more of a nuclear industry mouthpiece, than a real force in educating and advancing the safety of industrial nuclear stations.

NEI has dogs in the race, to be honest, and was today also the subject of an explosive CBS investigation, showing the abnormal amounts of finances that the NEI had committed to lobbying for nuclear industry interests this year.

If ever an industry was plagued with unfulfilled expectations, it’s the nuclear energy industry. Even before Three Mile Island in March 1979, the number of planned nuclear plants was shrinking, largely because of the intense capital requirements. After the event, the industry simply fizzled.

The River Bend plant in Louisiana, now operated by Entergy Nuclear, turned out to be the last new plant built for more than 30 years, and construction at River Bend began the year before Three Mile Island.

Any hope for a nuclear revival was dealt a final blow by the toxic fallout from Chernobyl in 1986.

Four nuclear projects in the early stages of development are currently underway, and an additional resurrected station hardly sounds like a renaissance.

But the fallout from Fukushima is far less than expected, and it is clear that the United States will not follow Germany in abandoning nuclear energy.

Horrific as the Fukushima meltdown was, it’s unlikely to have anywhere near the impact that Three Mile Island had, and nothing like the deadening effects of Chernobyl.

Lessons left unlearned, often end repeated, and when those lessons are related to nuclear energy, the consequences are generally much more serious then predicted.

Source: Energy Biz

Source: Reuters

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