Skip to main content

NRC Chairman to Nuclear Industry: "Show me."

New NRC Chairman Dale Klein in a speech delivered to the NEI dinner at the latest meeting of the Nuclear Strategic Issues Advisory Committee (NSIAC):
Most of the metaphors related to vision have to do with the vastness of the skies, and limitless horizons. Mine has more to do with my roots. More than a century ago, an educator and politician named Willard Duncan Vandiver coined the saying that has defined my home state of Missouri for all time.

Speaking to an audience in blue-blooded Philadelphia, he said, "I came from a state that raises corn and cotton and cockleburs and Democrats, and frothy eloquence neither convinces nor satisfies me. I am from Missouri. You have got to show me."

We've grown a bit in Missouri since then - we have some Republicans, and we even have a nuclear plant. But some things don't change.

When I hear it said we're going to build 50 nuclear plants in the next 20 years, I say, show me - show me the designs, and then show me the hardware and the construction, and then show me you have the people and procedures in place to run those new facilities in a way that will ensure public safety and security. And by the way, show me that you're maintaining the highest standards of safety performance for the plants already in operation.

In other words, my vision is that first and foremost NRC needs to continue to be a strong regulator. We will hold our licensees accountable. My vision also is that we, the NRC, articulate our requirements clearly, and that in addition to being demanding, we are responsive.
He continued:
We will ask hard questions, but not in a vacuum. I am a great believer in milestones - back on the farm in Missouri, we called them "chores" - and in metrics. We will do our utmost to set out our requirements, and to let the industry know - collectively and individually - where it stands at all times.

The bulk of our questions and metrics will concern technical issues - design, construction, safety, and security. But we are also very concerned about a much more basic - human - dimension. Where is the industry going to get all of the talented people to run these advanced new plants safely while shepherding today's fleet of plants through the balance of their extended lives?

I don't think I need to run the numbers for you - NEI's own surveys chronicle the tens of thousands of professional and skilled craft workers needed to keep the current fleet in operation, including the replacements for the operators, engineers, health physicists and others who are taking their invaluable knowledge with them into retirement.

And how many more professionals and craft workers will be needed for the new plants whose applications are starting to arrive at NRC?
It's a very interesting speech that lays out a critical industry issue in a very accessible way. Read it right now.

UPDATE: Rod Adams is making a connection between this speech and the Marshall Loeb article referenced above.

Technorati tags: , , , , ,

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Why America Needs the MOX Facility

If Isaiah had been a nuclear engineer, he’d have loved this project. And the Trump Administration should too, despite the proposal to eliminate it in the FY 2018 budget.

The project is a massive factory near Aiken, S.C., that will take plutonium from the government’s arsenal and turn it into fuel for civilian power reactors. The plutonium, made by the United States during the Cold War in a competition with the Soviet Union, is now surplus, and the United States and the Russian Federation jointly agreed to reduce their stocks, to reduce the chance of its use in weapons. Over two thousand construction workers, technicians and engineers are at work to enable the transformation.

Carrying Isaiah’s “swords into plowshares” vision into the nuclear field did not originate with plutonium. In 1993, the United States and Russia began a 20-year program to take weapons-grade uranium out of the Russian inventory, dilute it to levels appropriate for civilian power plants, and then use it to produce…

Nuclear Is a Long-Term Investment for Ohio that Will Pay Big

With 50 different state legislative calendars, more than half of them adjourn by June, and those still in session throughout the year usually take a recess in the summer. So springtime is prime time for state legislative activity. In the next few weeks, legislatures are hosting hearings and calling for votes on bills that have been battered back and forth in the capital halls.

On Tuesday, The Ohio Public Utilities Committee hosted its third round of hearings on the Zero Emissions Nuclear Resources Program, House Bill 178, and NEI’s Maria Korsnick testified before a jam-packed room of legislators.


Washingtonians parachuting into state debates can be a tricky platform, but in this case, Maria’s remarks provided national perspective that put the Ohio conundrum into context. At the heart of this debate is the impact nuclear plants have on local jobs and the local economy, and that nuclear assets should be viewed as “long-term investments” for the state. Of course, clean air and electrons …