David Lochbaum

Articles by David Lochbaum

23 March 2015

Drones at nuclear power plants: enemies or helpers?

David Lochbaum

Small, unmanned aircraft can perform critical tasks after a nuclear accident, but may be a security threat otherwise. Here’s how to separate good drones from bad ones.

1 July 2014

Since the dawn of the nuclear era, more than two dozen nuclear power reactors have been permanently shut down in the United States. At some point, the remaining 100 nuclear power reactors currently operating in the United States also must be permanently shut down.

9 August 2011

Fort Calhoun and Indian Point: A tale of two nuclear sites

David Lochbaum

Last year, Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors discovered design problems at the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant in Nebraska and the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York. In the former case, the NRC applied the most serious sanction levied against any reactor in 2010 and required the plant's owner to correct the problem. But at Indian Point, the NRC essentially shrugged and allowed the safety problem to go unsanctioned and uncorrected.

11 July 2008

NRC has failed in the past, but there's still hope for its future

As I've mentioned earlier in this discussion, good referees in sports go unnoticed. They consistently and clearly enforce the rules, seldom drawing complaints from either side. Poor referees hear complaints from both sides, albeit not often in response to the same call.

13 June 2008

The NRC needs its own oversight

A common factor that differentiates top performing from underperforming nuclear power plants is the health of their corrective action programs (CAPs). By law, plant owners must have such programs in place that find and fix problems in a timely manner.

15 May 2008

Consistent criticism from all sides proves that the NRC isn't a good regulator

Andy Kadak raises a valid point about Davis-Besse's near miss resulting from a major breakdown not only at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) but also at the plant operator FirstEnergy and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO).

5 February 2008

Fixing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

David Lochbaum

The United States operates 104 nuclear power reactors, which provide nearly 20 percent of the nation's electricity. More than half have had their original 40-year operating licenses renewed for an additional 20 years. Encouraged by billions of dollars in subsidies and incentives in the 2005 Energy Bill, a handful of companies applied for licenses to build new reactors last fall, and other companies are expected to apply later this year.

1 May 2003
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is still unwilling to respond to serious security problems.