Skip to main content

NEI CEO: Applying Lessons Learned from Japan

Marv Fertel NEI President and CEO Marvin Fertel has an article up at CNN:

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant crisis in Japan understandably caused many Americans to worry and ask: Could that happen here? It's the most frequent question I've received in the past two weeks.

The answer is twofold: First, one can never entirely rule out the possibility of a natural disaster battering even a super-hardened industrial facility. That's why the independent Nuclear Regulatory Commission has strict standards and why the industry exceeds them for safety, security and emergency preparedness at U.S. reactors.

Second, because it would be foolish to rule out such possibilities, the U.S. nuclear energy industry will do what it has done since the Three Mile Island accident 32 years ago -- apply the lessons learned from Fukushima to make American nuclear energy facilities even safer than they are today.

He discusses the work being done at all 104 nuclear plants to ensure that they can withstand a severe natural disaster, then makes a key point:

These steps are being taken even though every U.S. nuclear power plant is designed to withstand the most extreme earthquake possible in its location, considering local geology and seismology. The plants are similarly designed to withstand flooding and, where appropriate, tsunamis.

The two nuclear power stations in California, for example, have some of the most stringent earthquake requirements. And think back just a bit: Nuclear power plants have safely shut down during the blackout of 2003 and withstood extreme hurricanes, including Katrina in the Gulf Coast and Andrew in South Florida.

And while he does not shy away from events in Japan, Fertel keeps them in perspective:

The imagery from Japan, as unsettling as it is, has a context. That nation is remarkably vulnerable to seismic activity and tsunamis. We should not extrapolate earthquake and tsunami data from one location in the world to another when evaluating the risks of natural hazards.

Nonetheless, the global nuclear industry will conduct an exhaustive inventory of lessons learned from Fukushima and incorporate safety enhancements to existing plants and new plant designs.

Read the whole thing – there’s a lot more.

Comments

SteveK9 said…
NEI is fortunate to have Marvin Fertel. I have rarely seen a public spokesman that is more calm, reasonable and rational. Frankly, Marvin projects an air of trustworthiness because he does not sugarcoat anything, but always gives the straight story.

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…

Innovation Fuels the Nuclear Legacy: Southern Nuclear Employees Share Their Stories

Blake Bolt and Sharimar Colon are excited about nuclear energy. Each works at Southern Nuclear Co. and sees firsthand how their ingenuity powers the nation’s largest supply of clean energy. For Powered by Our People, they shared their stories of advocacy, innovation in the workplace and efforts to promote efficiency. Their passion for nuclear energy casts a bright future for the industry.

Blake Bolt has worked in the nuclear industry for six years and is currently the work week manager at Hatch Nuclear Plant in Georgia. He takes pride in an industry he might one day pass on to his children.

What is your job and why do you enjoy doing it?
As a Work Week Manager at Plant Hatch, my primary responsibility is to ensure nuclear safety and manage the risk associated with work by planning, scheduling, preparing and executing work to maximize the availability and reliability of station equipment and systems. I love my job because it enables me to work directly with every department on the plant…