From the Union of Concerned Scientists: http://allthingsnuclear.org/dam-failures-and-flooding-at-us-nuclear-plants/
October 19, 2012
Some 34 nuclear reactors—one-third of the U.S. fleet—could face flooding hazards greater than they were designed to withstand if an upstream dam fails, according to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff report written in July of last year.
The NRC has known about these risks for at least 15 years and has failed to adequately address them.
The report generated attention a month ago when its lead author, Richard Perkins, accused the NRC of deliberately whiting out passages before releasing the report in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Perkins suggested in a letter to the NRC inspector general that the NRC censored his report because it reveals “the NRC has been in possession of relevant, notable, and derogatory safety information for an extended period but failed to properly act on it.”
Nuclear reactors are built adjacent to rivers, lakes and oceans because they require vast quantities of cooling water. Many U.S. nuclear plants that are sited along a river have one or more dams located upstream. If a dam failed, the ensuing flood waters could overwhelm a plant’s protective barriers and disable critical safety equipment, causing an accident that could release a large amount of radiation, just as it did at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan in March 2011. In that case, the flooding was caused by a tsunami, not a breached dam, but the result could be similar.
An article today by Tom Zeller in the Huffington Post posted the unredacted July 2011 NRC report. The report shows the risk of a nuclear accident from flooding appears to be greater than previously thought.
Continue reading at: http://allthingsnuclear.org/dam-failures-and-flooding-at-us-nuclear-plants/