U.S. Responds to Fukushima

on May 26, 2011 at 5:00 PM

The future is looking bright for nuclear power in the United States.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission‘s (NRC) executive director of operations, Bill Borchardt, said today he remains optimistic about the NRC’s ability to implement and monitor nuclear safety regulations.

“We continue to have confidence in the 104 reactors still operating in the United States,” he told the audience of business executives and public officials at New York City’s Japan Society.

With Japan still recovering from the Fukushima blowout, caused by both an earthquake and the subsequent tsunami, today’s event was an opportunity for the NRC to publicly announce its recent report, “U.S. Response to the Fukushima Nuclear Accident.”

Within weeks of the Fukushima disaster, the NRC conducted thorough inspections of all US plants and found that most were compliant with current standards and, according to Borchardt, capable of responding to both minor plan design failure as well as major disaster events. The agency has yet to implement major changes to its regulations, but is in the midst of a longer-term review.

Borchardt said the agency was open to change as necessary.

“The worst thing we can do now is panic and make quick decisions,” said Gal Luft, executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security think tank, who also moderated the event. “Let’s take a deep breath.”

Luft listed the various types of power generation, citing the potential problems of each one. He noted that there was no golden solution.

“If we want to live in a 21st century economy, we have to say yes to something,” he said. “I think it’s extremely naïve to say that there can be life without nuclear power.”

Picture: Bill Borchardt speaks