"Regulator Says Fuel Pools at U.S. Reactors Are Ready for Emergencies"

"The chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Sunday morning that the spent fuel pools at American nuclear reactors are less vulnerable than the ones in Japan because of steps ordered by his agency after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, including having utilities prepare to use fire hoses to pump in extra water in the event ordinary cooling systems are knocked out.

Nuclear utilities were ordered to “identify and prestage equipment” that would be useful in such an emergency, according to commission officials. They have been reluctant to disclose details, because some preparations against terrorist attack are classified, but indicate that the preparation includes locating emergency generators, diesel-driven pumps, hoses and diesel fuel, as well as setting up procedures.

The chairman, Gregory Jaczko, said on the C-Span program “Newsmakers” that these preparations give an “extra sense of certainty” about the ability to withstand events beyond what the plant was designed for."

Matthew L. Wald And Joseph Berger report for the New York Times March 20, 2011.

Source: NY Times, 03/21/2011