1. One thing that I have learned over the years is that rats don’t like light.

    It is time to put them giant spot lights on the NRC Chairman and those who support him, within the NRC or from outside.

    The NRC has a mission to protect the environment. Having less nuclear power goes against this principle.

  2. During the webinar in October that faced off Dan Yurman of the ANS with Chairman Jaczko, the Chairman came right out and said that with limited funds going forward there might have to be decisions made between money spent on post-Fukushima changes to existing plants, and licensing of new plants. That was his very thinly veiled admission that he’ll hold new licensing hostage to get his changes rammed through. One might hope that an audit would point up the realities of actually licensing new facilities, which would get more money coming in. I’m not saying grease the skids… but I AM saying there’s more than a small amount of evidence that everything can and will be done to hold up new licensing.

  3. Of course, yesterday in an article, the NRC Chairman admitted to having solved the waste issue in the US saying that the current situation of on site storing is adequate for the next 100 years. No ned for Yucca.

    Now he has to solve the Fukushima lessons learned. An event that cannot be reproduced here.

    The new licensing will have to wait.

  4. My opinion on Jaczko was a bit negative, but not wildly so, until he declined comment on his Fukushima SPF gaffes after the NRC admitted there never was a dry SPF or one with bundles protruding from the water. After that, I became convinced he was little more than an arrogant, self-agrandizing political shill, with unwavering anti-nuclear sentiments. Confirmed anti-nukes never admit they are wrong. Now, he exploits a convenient opportunity to slow nuclear development in America, and for what reason? All I can think of is “agenda fulfillment”.

  5. The actions, or rather, inactions of the NRC on the various aspects of licensing light water reactors bother me greatly.

    I also look ahead to a time when reactor designs other than the light water type come for review and licensing by the NRC. What will happen then? The NRC has already admitted that they don’t know enough to proceed with licensing. So will potential licensees have to sit on their hands for two to three years while the licensors come up to speed? Then followed by the license review time (first of a kind, certain to be slow)? Will the license applicants need to pay $273 per hour during this time for each of the NRC folks to gain the knowledge necessary? Even if there were no bottlenecks in licensing light water reactors, the ability to hit the ground running on new reactors could certainly justify a budget increase.

    This coming from someone who is seldom a fan of increased government spending. In this case, we are talking about a relatively small amount of government spending to produce large increases in productivity and prosperity. And as Rod points out, the spending on licensing activities is almost totally funded by those applying for the license, not tax dollars.

    I realize that bureaucracies are bureaucracies, but there are some that have a “can do” attitude (the Department of Energy comes to mind), while other like the NRC have a “can’t do” attitude.

  6. I’ll read your blog and the comments thoroughly tonight when I have more time, but, what I know so far has me steamed too.
    Having Jaczko lead the NRC makes as much sense as having John Hinkley Jr. head up the Secret Service. Jaczko is a Political hack from the Ed Markey camp. Why isn’t it obvious to *everyone* that he is commissioned to stymie the development of new high power density energy systems?

  7. Jaczko has friends in high places. If you are going to try to get some accountability out of him, then you had better have some heavy hitters of your own making the demands.

    Personally, I don’t think that anything can be done until after next year’s elections, and possibly not even after that depending on the outcome. Everyone is going to be distracted by the current struggle for the Presidency. Don’t expect anyone in politics to pay attention to such a minor detail as the NRC accountability, unless he or she can use it as an issue or talking point in a campaign.

    1. Brian – the changes needed in the NRC for nuclear to truly advance aren’t just replacing or otherwise dealing with the Chairman of the NRC – for a real nuclear revolution, you need to remove or significantly undermine the NRC itself. This won’t be delivered by the current pack of Republicans we have, they’re too invested in the fossil status quo. If they help nuclear too much by undermining the regulatory structure and fundamental premises of the NRC, their coal and other fossil interest friends will speak up. So nuclear unchained is a direct threat to their interests. Republicans want to keep nuclear happy but marginal.

      Though the Republicans will put into place commissioners who are more generous to existing plants and will reliably support new large LWRs (though just a few, maybe 10 or 20), they won’t challenge the fundamentals of the regulatory system, which was built to favor large LWRs and large LWRs alone.

      I suppose that if your agenda is to get a few large LWRs built, then agitate for Republican victories. If your agenda is, for example, to dominate the North American electricity industry using nuclear energy (and large LWRs won’t get you there – they’re too limited and costly to build) then you need a different approach then blind support for Republicans.

  8. On this site, Rod has linked Rep. Markey with liquid natural gas interests. Has anyone discovered fossil fuel interests buying Sen. Reid in some fashion?

    1. You don’t need to. The world is too complicated to assume automatically that every person who stands in the way of nuclear power is a fossil-fuel-industry puppet.

      When it comes to nuclear, Reid is a Single Issue Fanatic. His record has been rather supportive of nuclear power overall (particularly when it comes to supporting the development of new technology) with one exception: Yucca Mountain.

      Tip O’Neill was right, all politics is local, and opposing Yucca Mountain plays well to most of the population in and around Las Vegas, which still comprises over 70% of the population of Nevada.

  9. Time to fit Rod with a new tin foil hat! This is another case where I wonder if I am reading the same article that Rod is considering how Rod rants.

    For those who have missed it has been a tough year for the US nuclear industry. Floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes! I think we have responded well.

    There have been a few black eyes like not properly planning work in a high rad area. And gosh, it is the same bottom performers.

    “My opinion on Jaczko was a bit negative, but not wildly so, until he declined comment on his Fukushima SPF gaffes after the NRC admitted there never was a dry SPF or one with bundles protruding from the water.”

    I share these sentiments with Leslie but being an optimist I think Jaczko’s recent operation to remove his foot from his mouth after embarrassing an US friend will temper his rhetoric. I see Jaczko’s visit to Fort Calhoun during flooding is a case of a more reserved remarks. Nothing makes an anti-nuke become less anti than actually see how we do business.

    1. @ Kit P

      Not a single new plant approved in the last 30 years. The NRC sucks at protecting the environment just on that single point. By not allowing nuclear plants to be built, more coal and gas plants are polluting our rivers, air etc.

      1. That is a very stupid and ignorant statement Daniel. I was at several new nuke plants that had there operating license approved in the last 30 years. Some of them have now had their operating license extended for 60 years.

        If fact I can not think of one operating permit not approved by the NRC. The last one was Watts Bar 1.

        Utilities build and operate power plants. The NRC regulates nuke plants. We are responsible for doing a good job. The NRC only spot checks. The joke goes, we found the problem, we fixed the problem, the NRC fined us. When the NRC finds a problem it is an indication that we in the industry did not do a good job.

        So blaming the NRC for not approving applications not submitted is stupid.

        Daniel is also wrong about coal and gas plants. Utilities in the US produce power with insignificant environmental impact. Most of my power comes from coal. Replacing it with a nuke plant will not clean up my air because it is already clean.

        1. I think the correct statement would be that no plants have been approved using NRC rules 100% from start to finish. I believe that all plants licensed so far have designed and built at least partially under Atomic Energy Commission rules.

        2. Kit, I realize you are much, much more experienced than I, but there is a MAJOR factor in the decision-making matrices of utilities that you are patently ignoring: UNCERTAINTY.

          While the genesis of the “Shoreham Syndrome” (as Rod has coined it) does not come directly from the NRC (as they granted Shoreham a license), but rather from local regulatory authorities, uncertainty on the whole has quelled plans to build nuclear power plants. Uncertainty affects schedules, which directly affects financing costs.

          You are being intellectually dishonest to ignore the effect that uncertainty has had, although I admit that quantifying this effect would be darn near impossible.

    2. @Kit – I do not get the tin foil hat reference in this case.

      Also, I fully recognize that this has been a tough year with lots of unplanned events that required the NRC’s resources and attention. That is why I do not understand why the Chairman has refused to ask for additional resources and has once again decided to request a budget with a decreasing top line – in then year dollars.

      Leaders who have challenges seek the resources required to meet those challenges. They do not just keep accepting fewer and fewer resources and providing less and less service – especially when they are the people who man the only door through which nuclear plant operators can pass to obtain permission to do their important job of building new plants and continuing to cost effectively operate the ones that already exist.

      You continue to claim to be a nuclear supporter, but you sure do not seem to understand much about the business challenges that the technology have been thrust upon the technology. Maybe there is a reason why you are so negative about management – methinks I sense a bit of bitterness there.

  10. Putting Jaczko in charge of the NRC makes as much sense as promoting Dracula to be in charge of a blood bank.

  11. Here is an interesting bit from the NRC Chairman:

    At two plants, Perry in Ohio and Cooper in Missouri, poor planning or poor adherence to procedure led to a situation where employees encountered unexpectedly high levels of radiation and avoided significant exposures only because their monitoring equipment sounded an alarm, Jaczko said.

    Does anyone know exactly what kind of excessive dosage the workers received ? Does he know what he is talking about ? Is this FUD ?

  12. I agree with Joel that ‘UNCERTAINTY’ is an important consideration but think the process of getting a COL is more certain than getting a permit for a fossil power plant these days.

    Over the last 10 years I have seen many permits for badly needed fossil plants denied. I am not ignoring ‘uncertainty’, I am just saying that I think it favors new nukes now.

    As Joel suggests, this factor changes with location but Joel all power plants are local. Some here debate like nuclear is some global resource with a global conspiracy requiring us to wear ‘tin hat’ so that can not read our brain waves. However, all power projects are local. What is the three most important factors in siting power plant?


    People in the SF Bay area want their electricity generated with wind. Since I sailed there for many years I know there are great wind but those people want to see sail boats not wind turbines. The wind farms got built in the PNW because the local people wanted the jobs and tax revenues.

    There was a conspiracy to close Rancho Seco. We all know that Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden contributed money to the campaign to close Rancho Seco but it was a neighboring nuclear utility that also contributed. While the mechanism to close Rancho Seco was location specific, the primary reason Rancho Seco closed was bad management.

    So yes, I am negative about bad management as Rod asserts because it leads to closing nuke plants and putting a lot of good people out of work. I think it was bad for the local community and the state too. I am bitter about Rancho Seco but that was a long time ago and now I am doing what I want to do which is build new nuke plant rather than shut down perfectly good old ones.

    This is why I disagree with Rod. I see the NRC as a well managed and doing a good job of permitting new nukes. One of the things we keep track of at my company is the cost of non-quality. The NRC says please explain this. Then the NRC says please explain again. The money we have to pay the NRC to ask questions and out internal cost answer the question and implement a design change is a cost of non-quality that could have been avoided by doing a better job in the first place.

    I see the NRC is doing a detailed and thorough job. I see we are doing a good job when the level of comment borders on nit picking. When there is a legal challenge COL process, there is a great deal of evidence the process is not a rubber stamp and public will be protected.

    So what do I expect for the 2012 NRC budget? Since there should be one less DC and two less COL because they have been approved, that part of the budget is going down. It is! Since there will be four more reactors under construction, budget is going up.

    So the budget that NRC staff has proposed is what I expect.

  13. Some comments defending the NRC and defending Jaczko are short sighted. To say the NRC is doing a good job is in my view outrageous. Rod has said it and I’ll say it again putting qualified people in a regulator position would be far more efficient when deciding the fate of a new plant and there is the other issue of licensing and application fees that are so prohibitive. Why does the nuclear industry need to be penalized for doing it’s job well, especially such an essential service?

  14. This just out:

    Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko has voted in favor of the final certification rule for Westinghouse Electric Company’s AP1000 pressurized water reactor design. His vote, dated December 6, was posted in the ADAMS document system on the NRC Web site, at 9:49 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on December 9; it can be downloaded from ADAMS with the accession number ML113430027.

    1. It would seem that come Dec 14, the White House could rule on the future of Dr J at the NRC.

  15. Have you ever heard the quote, “I voted for the bill before I voted against it.”

    Jazcko has the ability to control the docket. There is some real politic going on here. Some political maneuvering. It is odd that the other 4 commissioners would oppose him in this unless Jazcko missed something or is prematurely forcing an issue to raise “faults” when the other commissioners haven’t exercised their due diligence and still have questions. (Please note this is pure speculation on my part, It just seems rotten)

    I trust that man about as far as I can throw him. Well, maybe a tenth of that.

    1. Sorry, missed the bus on that lost post. Didn’t fully understand what you were saying Daniel. That is actually good news. Very good news.

  16. Jazcko does not come across as a smart man to me. I like the ‘No Bozos Allowed’ rule to be applied at the NRC.

    Let’s make it stick and have him pay for what he did.

Comments are closed.

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

Similar Posts