NRC Violates Own Public Meeting Rules, No Public Comment Allowed, Closes Meeting Early

Update: NIRS has issued a statement that includes their testimony before the NRC today. 

The NRC left meeting attendees in complete shock as they abruptly ended a public meeting without allowing any public questions or comments. The meeting was a category 3 meeting. This type of meeting intends there to be public questions and comments throughout the meeting. With 30 minutes left in the scheduled 2 hour slot the NRC abruptly closed the meeting after the operations office informed them there were 30 people waiting in the phones to possibly ask questions. No effort was made to allow those in the audience to speak. The question was not even asked if there were public questions.

A category 3 NRC meeting is described as follows:
This is a Category 3 Meeting: The public is invited to participate in this meeting by providing comments and asking questions throughout the meeting. The NRC provides reasonable accommodations to individual’s with\ disabilities where appropriate. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in this meeting (e.g., sign language), or need this meeting notice or other information from the meeting in another format, please notify the NRC meeting contact.

The NRC meeting on GE Mark 1 reactors was a category 3 meeting. The NRC was in violation of their own rules by not even giving the public an opportunity to speak. If you wish to file a complaint the NRC Open Government office contacts can be found here. All of the contact info related to this meeting is at the end of this article.

Some notes on the meeting itself:
This meeting was to discuss the petition filed to revoke the licenses of all operating GE Mark 1 reactors in the US.
Members of the anti-nuclear community and a number of experts on the petition were allowed to speak as part of the petition review process. All did an excellent job articulating the high risk for little benefit the continued operation of GE Mark 1 BWR reactors is causing the public. The petitioners explained the design flaws of the Mark 1 that have been known since its inception under the Atomic Energy Commission back in the 1960’s. The known flaws include containment systems too small to handle a design basis accident among others. The hardened venting system added in the 1980’s as a band aid fix to the flawed containment design failed 3 out of 3 times at Fukushima. The Fukushima disaster illustrated why the hardened venting system simply does not work, it has no power in an accident yet needs power to operate and required a person to go down into the suppression chamber of a melting down reactor to attempt to manually engage the vents.

Other concerns were known flaws in the “torus” wet suppression chambers, unprotected fuel pools with no emergency back up systems and control rod blades where almost all of the blades in use have known cracks in them. The petitioners reminded again and again of the decades of known problems and inaction by the NRC and that the Mark 1 has a 90% chance of having containment fail in an accident. Those are some high odds for reactors that operate in population centers around the country.

Probably the most telling figure on the issue of the Mark 1 units is that only 4% of our power comes from Mark 1 reactors in the US. The comment was made by MIA on Scribble that  “(the) only reason they get uprates and liscense extensions is because they are paid for cash cows.

So far these are the contacts we have found for the petition:

The NRC is accepting feedback and public input on the petition until October 14th to:
Siva Lingam, NRR
301-415-1564    Siva.Lingam@nrc.gov

NRC Open Government Officials:

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Mail Stop: O16-D3
Washington, DC 20555-0001

Information on the Open Government Initiative of the White House can be found here.

Please be respectful, civil and factual if you contact the NRC about this meeting.

 

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