Thursday, September 13, 2012

Post # 69: Monitoring the U.S. Response To Fukushima

This blog is about sustainable energy.  Over the past couple of years I've discussed a wide variety of topics that relate to sustainable energy production and use.  I've frequently noted my conviction that nuclear energy has to be the foundation of any sustainable AND ABUNDANT energy future for this small blue planet.

Those of you who have followed me here for any length of time also know I've spent much of my career in the nuclear reactor safety arena.  More specifically, I spent many years working with my colleagues at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the other national laboratories, and the commercial nuclear industry to improve our understanding of severe accident phenomenology, severe accident progression, and severe accident management strategies in commercial boiling water reactors (BWRs).  Along with all of you, I was deeply saddened by the events of March 2011 in Japan and at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.   Several of my previous blogs have dealt with BWR severe accident phenomenology and the events at Fukushima.

As you can imagine, I am closely following the post-Fukushima response of the global commercial nuclear industry and regulatory agencies worldwide.  In fact, at EnergX, we're part of that response.  We've assembled an incredibly talented team of nuclear reactor safety and risk experts – some of whom have been heavily involved in the beyond-design-basis accident and severe accident research and regulatory arenas for over forty years (predating the 1975 Reactor Safety Study (WASH-1400).  Members of our team were on-site during and following the accidents at TMI-2 and Chernobyl.  They served on the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards (ACRS), and they led both industry and national laboratory research efforts for the decades following these accidents.  And, like some of you, our team is engaged in the industry's effort to learn from and respond to the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident.

So it is with this background I've decided to initiate a series of updates here to discuss the status of the U.S. industry's and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's response to Fukushima Dai-ichi.  I will attempt to strike a balance between technical detail and clarity so that you do not have to be a nuclear engineer, or a nuclear regulatory expert to following along.  My goal in doing this is not to be an evangelist for the nuclear industry.  The industry needs no evangelist.  Rather, my goal is to chronicle as accurately and clearly as possible how the events at Fukushima are changing the present and the future of nuclear power in the U.S. and abroad.

So visit me regularly in the coming weeks and months to following the unfolding story of how the U.S. commercial nuclear power sector is learning from, and responding to the events at Fukushima.

Oh... and not to worry... I don't plan to entirely abandon the broader sustainable energy topic.  I will continue to post on non-Fukushima and non-nuclear energy matters as my interests and evolving events warrant.



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