Questions about nuclear power being affordable and practical join the suspicions that the industry hasn’t mended its unsafe ways.
The nuclear industry promised to do better this time. The interveners in the Fermi 3 licensing application for a new reactor, slated to be built near Detroit, don’t believe much has changed. On November 10 of this year, they filed a request to suspend the proceedings because of the utility’s faulty quality assurance program.
The interveners were first alerted to problems at the proposed new reactor when they spotted a memo, dated June 23, 2009, on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) website. The memo addressed a review of quality assurance in the design process by Detroit Edison (DTE). It said these “are of sufficient concern at this time that they might question the quality of the overall application.”
The NRC found was that the company had no quality assurance program in place from March 2007 to February 2008.
“In addition to not having a program at all, and not tracking this for a year, they were categorizing important work as ‘non-safety related’ which means they don’t have to meet regulatory standards,” said Daniel Hirsch, president of the nuclear research group, the Committee to Bridge the Gap.