"The birth of the 'nuclear renaissance' and proposed construction of up to 100 new nuclear reactors in the United States will be crippled by the crisis in Japan as regulators struggle to incorporate 'lessons learned' into the country's existing nuclear fleet, a former member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said [Friday].
'I think the effort to expand, to build a fleet of new plants ... [is] certainly dead for now,' Peter Bradford said today during a briefing with reporters in Washington, D.C.
Bradford, a professor at the Vermont Law School, cast doubt over the federal government's assertions that the NRC can incorporate 'lessons learned' from the crisis unraveling in Japan into the U.S. nuclear industry without slowing or stopping the permitting and relicensing of new nuclear reactors. Japan was struck by a 9 magnitude earthquake on March 11, followed by a deadly tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex on the country's eastern shore.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu and NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko have stood firm behind assertions during congressional hearings this week that although a review will be conducted of the U.S. nuclear fleet, the ongoing regulatory process for existing and new nuclear plants will go unscathed."
Hannah Northey reports for Greenwire March 18, 2011.