Storing spent nuclear waste

Posted by Christine, June 20, 2011

David Sneed takes a close look at PG&E’s  nuclear reactor in San Luis Obispo county:

Seventy-five percent of the highly radioactive fuel used by the nation’s nuclear plants remains today in cooling pools at those facilities.

At Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, the amount is higher — 81 percent of spent fuel sits in two pools. In response to the nuclear disaster in Japan, PG&E plans to reduce the amount of used fuel assemblies it keeps in its pools at Diablo Canyon. But it has no plans to reduce them to their original and safest low-density configuration.

The AP analyzes how regulators have allowed aging reeactors to comply with safety regulations by changing the rules:

Federal regulators have been working closely with the nuclear power industry to keep the nation’s aging reactors operating within safety standards by repeatedly weakening those standards, or simply failing to enforce them, an investigation by The Associated Press has found.

Time after time, officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission have decided that original regulations were too strict, arguing that safety margins could be eased without peril, according to records and interviews.