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Coronavirus: USA Nuclear Sites Could Run Out of Critical Supplies

Coronavirus and the states: Plastic bag bans on hold; nuclear plants run low on gloves, masks, wipes.  Missoula, BY MATT VASILOGAMBROS, 30 Mar 20

“…… Nuclear Sites Could Run Out of Critical Supplies.   Nuclear sites across the country might soon run out of gloves, masks and wipes. The U.S. Energy Department said the priority was to supply those items to health care workers and others on the frontline of the coronavirus epidemic.

That means thousands of nuclear power plant workers across the country may not have the protection needed to do their jobs. Nuclear Energy Institute CEO Maria Korsnick anticipated the shortage as early as last week, when she asked U.S. Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette for supplies and testing kits.

To be sure, not every plant expects to run out of masks. The Tennessee Valley Authority this week donated more than 50,000 masks to state emergency responders, according to spokeswoman Melinda Hunter.

Still, the TVA has worked to adapt to the crisis, including reducing power at some plants. One of its plants, Sequoyah, downsized its refueling crew from 1,000 to 800. No TVA worker had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Thursday.

Regulators also have been scrambling to adapt. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission will allow plants to operate with fewer workers on duty for longer hours, said Scott Burnell, a spokesman for the agency, in an email.

Environmental activists say now is not the time to cut corners and risk a nuclear accident. “An accident with a major release of radiation or the threat of it during this time of pandemic and social isolation would be a double whammy,” said Don Safer, a member of the board of the Tennessee Environmental Council, which advocates for renewable energy. “A major evacuation now would be chaos.”…..

March 31, 2020 - Posted by | health, USA

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