On March 11, 2011, an earthquake triggered a tsunami wave that exceeded the seawall at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, leading to the release of radioactive material into the environment. The disaster raised questions about the threats that natural hazards, such as earthquakes and floods, may pose to U.S. commercial nuclear power reactors. NRC licenses and regulates U.S. nuclear power reactors. NRC criteria for licensees to assess natural hazards were developed using an approach that required reactors to be designed according to a set of potential accidents using deterministic analysis. Since the 1990s, NRC has been encouraging the use of PRA as part of a risk-informed, performance-based approach.
GAO was asked to (1) determine the extent to which PRA is applied to natural hazards at operating U.S. reactors and (2) describe expert views on and suggested changes, if any, to NRC processes for assessing natural hazards at such reactors. GAO reviewed documents; analyzed responses from 15 experts in assessing nuclear reactor risks and/or natural hazards; visited five selected nuclear power plants; and interviewed NRC officials and industry and public interest group representatives.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)|