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USA’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission “sanitises” report, wipes off safety findings about nuclear license renewals

Inviting Nuclear Disaster Counterpunch BY KARL GROSSMAN, 30 Dec 20, “……….Paul Gunter points to what happened to a report which the NRC commissioned the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to make. “The federal laboratory was contracted by the NRC to develop the criteria and guidance document to address and close numerous ‘knowledge gaps’ in the license renewal safety review process to provide the ‘reasonable assurance’ that the reactors could be operated reliably and safely into the license extension period,” relates Gunter. The 2017 report raised many significant issues regarding extending the operating licenses of nuclear plants.

The report is titled “Criteria and Planning Guidance for Ex-Plant Harvesting to Support Subsequent License Renewal.”

It “was publicly posted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to its website in December 2017,” relates Gunter, “as well as to the websites of the Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information and the International Atomic Energy Commission’s International Nuclear Information System.”

But then Gunter attended a public meeting at the NRC’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland on September 26, 2018 on operating license extensions “and I started asking questions citing the report” of the year before. The NRC officials there “were quite surprised.”

And the NRC “wiped all three websites of the report.”

The NRC was to repost the report, but it was then “scrubbed clean of dozens of references to safety-critical knowledge ‘gaps’ pertaining to many known age-related degradation mechanisms described in the original published report,” says Gunter. “The NRC revision also scrubbed Pacific Northwest National Laboratory findings and recommendations to ‘require’ the harvesting of realistic and representative aged materials from decommissioning nuclear power stations—base metals, weld materials, electric cables, insulation and jacketing, reactor internals and safety-related concrete structures like the containment and spent fuel pool—for laboratory analyses of age degradation. The laboratory analyses are intended to provide ‘reasonable assurance’ of the license extension safety review process for the projected extension period.”

However, Beyond Nuclear had downloaded and saved a copy of the original report which you can view here.

And you can view what Gunter terms the “sanitized version” of the report which has the same title but is dated March 2019. It’s here.

The omissions start with what is headed “Abstract” in the original 2017 report. The “Abstract” states: “As U.S. nuclear power plants look to subsequent license renewal (SLR) to operate for a 20-year period beyond 60 years, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the industry will be addressing technical issues around the capability of long-lived passive components to meet their functionality objectives. A key challenge will be to better understand likely materials degradation mechanisms in these components and their impacts on component functionality and safety margins. Research addressing many of the remaining technical gaps in these areas for SLR may greatly benefit from materials sampled from plants (decommissioned or operating). Because of the cost and inefficiency of piecemeal sampling, there is a need for a strategic and systematic approach to sampling materials from structures, systems and components in both operating and decommissioned plants.”

But in the 2019 version of the report, this “Abstract,” among other material, is gone.……  ……..

December 31, 2020 - Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA

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