A group of engineers within the U.S. nuclear power regulator is concerned that a design flaw in nearly all U.S. nuclear plants could endanger emergency core cooling systems. The group has urged the regulator to order power station operators to either fix the problem or face mandatory shutdowns. Seven engineers in late February petitioned the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to order immediate enforcement actions against licensees of U.S. nuclear power plants, in a little-noticed, but public move. The petition, filed under a standard NRC process, urges the agency to respond by March 21. The engineers are concerned that a design flaw in nearly all U.S. nuclear facilities leaves them vulnerable to so-called open phase events in which an unbalanced voltage, such as an electrical short, could cause motors to burn out and reduce the ability of a reactor’s emergency cooling system to function. If the motors are burned out, backup electricity systems would be of little help, the petition said.
Reuters 1st March 2016 read more »