Here's the chance for all the nuclear power pundits, the arm-chair experts, those with far more faith in nuclear designers than in wind and solar designers, and in grid-scale battery designers, to show the NRC what few safety regulations are really required for those (so-called) ultra-safe SMR (small modular reactor) nuclear plants. Just show up in Maryland on May 10, 2017, and make your case for why these SMR plants are so safe they don't even require emergency preparedness..
After all, it's just nuclear fission at issue. With all the deadly, radioactive byproducts like Plutonium. There's clearly no problem with the residual heat from nuclear fission, so clearly there's no need for safety cooling systems. And it's smaller, so no need for spent fuel storage systems to safely contain the radioactive byproducts of fission. There's absolutely no need to consider a LOCA, loss of cooling accident, which would trigger an emergency evacuation.
Go ahead. Make your case. Recall, though, that this is a public venue and all comments will be recorded for posterity.
NRC posted this notice at see link.
"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking public comment on a draft regulatory basis for
new emergency preparedness requirements for small modular reactors and other new technologies, such as non-light water reactor facilities.
"In addition to accepting written comments, NRC staff will conduct a public meeting May 10 to
discuss the draft regulatory basis. The meeting will be held from 9-11:30 a.m., in the Two White Flint
North auditorium at the NRC’s headquarters in Rockville, Md. Visitors will need to enter through One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike. Additional information on the meeting, including a telephone bridge line, will be made available in a public meeting notice.
"A regulatory basis is an early stage in the rulemaking process in which the NRC staff explains
the rationale for developing new regulatory requirements and seeks input from the public. After the
regulatory basis is finalized, the staff will develop a proposed rule, which will also be issued for public comment before the staff produces a final rule. The draft regulatory basis, in part, explains why the NRC believes the existing regulations should be updated, revised, and/or enhanced; presents
alternatives to rulemaking; and discusses costs and other impacts of the potential changes.
"The nuclear power industry is developing small modular reactors and other advanced reactor
technologies that differ in size, scope and hazard from the large light-water reactors operating in the
U.S. today. Their smaller size or innovative safety features are likely to lead to lower risk or less
challenging accident conditions than today’s reactors. This rulemaking would establish emergency
preparedness requirements appropriate to these technologies. Existing requirements for current reactors will not be part of the scope of this rulemaking."
Note that NuScale Power LLC see link has already begun the NRC safety review process for their 50 MW, 12 module (600 MW total) SMR nuclear plants. Their design, as published, is hopelessly complex and uneconomic with 12 large pressure vessels, equipment, piping, and pumps just to supply 600 MW of electricity. However, the NRC does not pass judgment on economics, but evaluates only the safety aspects. The market will judge the economics.
Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
copyright (c) 2017 by Roger Sowell - all rights reserved
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