Task force calls for safety upgrade at US nuclear plants news
13 July 2011

 The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission should strengthen oversight of nuclear-plant safety, requiring operators to reevaluate flood and earthquake threats and ''upgrade as necessary,'' according to an advisory panel.

The panel suggested, the agency should ensure plants were better able to handle power losses and had ''seismically qualified'' means to spray water into cooling pools for spent nuclear fuel.

The panel was appointed by the commission to review safety at nuclear power plants in the wake of the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co's Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant north of Tokyo.

The station suffered three reactor meltdowns following a 9-magnitude earthquake and tsunamithat hit the country on 11 March, knocking out power and backup generators and crippling its cooling systems that triggered the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl in 1986.

According to the advisory panel, the sequence of events similar to the Japan disaster was ''unlikely to occur'' in the US as reactor owners already had in place safety measures ''reducing the likelihood of core damage and radiological releases.''

US nuclear plants ''do not pose an imminent risk to the public health and safety,'' according to the task force.

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Task force calls for safety upgrade at US nuclear plants