NBC says the NRC deceives the public

There was a recent post by NBC  stating that the NRC was keeping two sets of answers:

Jaczko did push for release of a report on Fukushima and its lessons just 90 days after Fukushima. Some of those recommendations have been implemented. Jaczko, who resigned in 2012, declined a request last week to be interviewed.

‘Non-public information’

The talking points written during the emergency for NRC commissioners and other officials were divided into two sections: “public answer” and “additional technical, non-public information.” Often the two parts didn’t quite match.

One topic the NRC avoided in the talking points, even when responding to a direct question: meltdown.

 “Q. What happens when/if a plant ‘melts down’?

“Public Answer: In short, nuclear power plants in the United States are designed to be safe. To prevent the release of radioactive material, there are multiple barriers between the radioactive material and the environment, including the fuel cladding, the heavy steel reactor vessel itself and the containment building, usually a heavily reinforced structure of concrete and steel several feet thick.

“Additional, non-technical, non-public information: The melted core may melt through the bottom of the vessel and flow onto the concrete containment floor. The core may melt through the containment liner and release radioactive material to the environment.”

The Japanese public television network, NHK, asked if the NRC could provide a graphic depicting what happens during a meltdown of a nuclear reactor.

From: McIntyre, David

Date: Friday, March 18, 2011, 9:02 AM

NRC would not have such a graphic. I suspect any number of anti-nuclear power organizations might.

When reporters asked if the Japanese emergency could affect licensing of new reactors in the U.S., the public answer was “It is not appropriate to hypothesize on such a future scenario at this point.”..The non-public information was more direct: This event could potentially call into question the NRC’s seismic requirements, which could require the staff to re-evaluate the staff’s approval of the AP1000 and ESBWR (the newest reactor designs from Westinghouse and General Electric) design and certifications.”

Typically, the main steam media such as NBC repeats the corporate line.   It is encouraging to see that they are doing some honest reporting.   This is rather bold, because NBC is owned by GE.   GE, in turn, is regulated by the NRC, or owns the NRC, depending upon your perspective.

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