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No Urgent Changes Seen for U.S. Nuclear Plants

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William BorchardtA top official with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday that the nuclear crisis in Japan did not warrant any immediate changes in American nuclear plants. The commission’s inspectors at each nuclear site have been told to double-check that emergency precautions mandated years ago were still in place, including temporary hoses and fittings and other last-ditch backup equipment, said the official, William Borchardt, the executive director for operations.

They are also to verify that plant operators know where the equipment and materials are, he said, “to make sure they haven’t fallen into disuse because they haven’t been used.”

“Every single day, we assess whether or not there is some additional regulatory action that needs to be taken immediately in order to address the information we have to date,” he said.

The commission will vote soon on a plan to conduct a 90-day study of the significance of the Japanese events to American reactors, the commission chairman, Gregory B. Jaczko, said, with updates after 60 and 90 days, but Mr. Borchardt and other staff members said repeatedly that they did not yet have a full picture of events in Fukushima.

The information emerging is sometimes contradictory. While the primary containments in two of the reactors was previously reported to have been damaged by explosions, Mr. Borchardt said in the briefing that at this point they “appear to be functional.”

TVNL Comment: Indian Point nuclear plant in NY can withstand a 6.0 earthquake.  How reassuring.  The 9.0 Japan earthquake was ONE THOUSAND times more powerful than a 6.0.  Do we have to hope for a miniquake?  Just asking....

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