US Nuclear Facilities at Greater Than Expected Risk From Flooding Due to Dam Failure: Whistleblower

Montgomery County Planning Commission/CC BY-SA 2.0

After the Fukushima disaster, and the mid-Atlantic earthquake that briefly knocked a Virginia nuclear power plant offline, countless charts were produced showing which nuclear power plants in the United States were vulnerable to seismic activity or tsunamis.

But, as a new piece in Huffington Post highlights, we may well be overlooking the damaging effects of flooding on nuclear plants after upstream dam failure—and that's because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is covering up that threat. At least that's what a whistleblower is alleging.

The whistleblower's letter, sent to an internal investigations team at the NRC by Richard Perkins, a risk engineer there,

...alleged that NRC officials falsely invoked security concerns in redacting large portions of a report detailing the agency's preliminary investigation into the potential for dangerous and damaging flooding at U.S. nuclear power plants due to upstream dam failure.

Perkins, along with at least one other employee inside NRC, also an engineer, suggested that the real motive for redacting certain information was to prevent the public from learning the full extent of these vulnerabilities, and to obscure just how much the NRC has known about the problem, and for how long.

"What I've seen," Perkins said in a phone call, "is that the NRC is really struggling to come up with logic that allows this information to be withheld."

In short, the report found that there's a larger than expected (and apparently heretofore acknowledged) risk to nuclear power plants from upstream dam failure.

Read more: Huffington Post

Tags: Nuclear Power