United States: NRC to Ease Regulatory Burdens During Pandemic. Already in the crosshairs of anti-nuclear groups for a major, multiyear regulatory overhaul, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) found itself in the firing line again this week when it announced steps to help operators through the cornonavirus pandemic — including relaxing work-hour limits and deferring inspections. While acquiescing in these respects, the agency’s critics noted, the NRC is doing nothing to curtail a spate of scheduled refuelings this spring which require hundreds of temporary workers to travel to various reactor communities to complete their specialist tasks. More than 300 participants from across the country, including industry officials and staff of anti-nuclear organizations, dialed into an NRC conference call Apr. 2 to discuss easing measures related to the Covid-19 crisis, now widely believed to be in the early stages of a massive upward trajectory in the US. This was an unusually large number of participants for such calls, demonstrating a level of interest in the NRC’s crisis response probably not seen since Sep. 11, 2001. While some activists and state and local officials called on nuclear operators to forgo refueling outages and instead shut down their reactors to protect workers and neighboring communities, industry officials on the call insisted the generation is needed to meet increased summer demand. Precisely how much demand will emerge over summer months remains an open question considering that electricity usage is falling in a number of states and jurisdictions where nonessential services and business are shutting down to address the public health emergency.
Nuclear Intelligence Weekly 3rd April 2020 read more »
The US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) has called on US Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette for “urgent support” to ensure workers supporting nuclear operations and refuelling outages are included in federal designations of essential workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nuclear energy supplies 20 per cent of America’s electricity and will be vital in minimising the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the general public, according to the industry body.
NS Energy 8th April 2020 read more »