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.


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

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

Sneak Peek

There's an invisible force powering and propelling our way of life.
It's all around us. You can't feel it. Smell it. Or taste it.
But it's there all the same. And if you look close enough, you can see all the amazing and wondrous things it does.
It not only powers our cities and towns.
And all the high-tech things we love.
It gives us the power to invent.
To explore.
To discover.
To create advanced technologies.
This invisible force creates jobs out of thin air.
It adds billions to our economy.
It's on even when we're not.
And stays on no matter what Mother Nature throws at it.
This invisible force takes us to the outer reaches of outer space.
And to the very depths of our oceans.
It brings us together. And it makes us better.
And most importantly, it has the power to do all this in our lifetime while barely leaving a trace.
Some people might say it's kind of unbelievable.
They wonder, what is this new power that does all these extraordinary things?

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.


The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.

What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…