TMI Update: Jan 14, 2024

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Nuclear Information and Resource Service

Dear Eric, 

Today we are reaching out to you with urgent news about the dangerous marriage of bills S. 1111 and H.R. 6544 and its potential impact on global nuclear expansion.

As you may know, these bills, if passed, would have devastating consequences for nuclear safety regulations, environmental protection, and global efforts to combat climate change. But perhaps most alarmingly, the union of these bills would pave the way for a significant expansion of nuclear power, worldwide.

We are urging you to take action today. Contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to oppose the union of bills S. 1111 and H.R. 6544.

Here's why:

Weakening Nuclear Safety Regulations: By promoting nuclear energy and reducing regulatory oversight, these bills would encourage the proliferation of nuclear power plants worldwide. This poses a grave risk to public safety and environmental health, as poorly regulated nuclear facilities are prone to accidents and radioactive contamination.

Encouraging Nuclear Energy Investments: The passage of these bills would mislead other countries by making it appear that nuclear energy is a viable and affordable option. This would incentivize countries worldwide to make bad investments in nuclear infrastructure, blocking renewable energy and leading to a proliferation of nuclear reactors, radioactive waste, and associated risks.

Ignoring the Lessons of History: We've seen the catastrophic consequences of nuclear accidents like Chornobyl and Fukushima. Yet, instead of learning from these disasters and transitioning to safer, renewable energy alternatives, these bills double down on nuclear power, putting communities worldwide at risk of similar tragedies.

The Reality Hasn’t Changed: nuclear power is too dirty, too dangerous, too expensive, and too slow. It won’t help us preserve a livable climate, and it won’t help other countries meet their energy needs. 

It's clear that the marriage of bills S. 1111 and H.R. 6544 is a dangerous proposition that threatens the safety and well-being of people and the planet. We cannot afford to stand idly by while the nuclear industry expands its reach and perpetuates its legacy of environmental destruction and human suffering.

Together, we can protect our communities from the dangers of nuclear energy and pave the way for a safer, cleaner, and more sustainable future.

Thank you for your continued support and advocacy.

Follow Us


Onward with action, 

The NIRS Team 

Diane D’Arrigo 

Denise Jakobsberg 

Tim Judson 

Ann McCann 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 24-023 April 10, 2024
CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200
NRC Makes Available TerraPower’s Construction Permit Application for Site in Kemmerer, Wyoming
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has received a construction permit application from TerraPower seeking permission to build the company’s Natrium nuclear power plant near Kemmerer, Wyoming. The application is now available for public inspection on the NRC website.
TerraPower filed the application on March 28, requesting a permit to build the sodium- cooled, advanced reactor design on a site near an existing coal-fired power plant. The 345-megawatt electric Natrium plant includes an energy storage system to temporarily boost output up to 500 MWe, when needed. If the NRC ultimately issues the permit, TerraPower would need to submit a separate operating license application in the future to obtain permission to run the reactor.
The NRC staff is processing the application to determine if it has sufficient information to begin the agency’s safety and environmental reviews. If the application is determined to be complete, the staff will docket it and publish a notice of opportunity to request a hearing before the NRC’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.
Information about the regulation of new reactors is available on the NRC website. A copy of the TerraPower construction permit application will be available at the Lincoln County Library – Kemmerer at 519 Emerald St., in Kemmerer.
UN nuclear watchdog's board sets emergency meeting after Zaporizhzhia attacks
April 9, 202410:36 PM EDTUpdated 13 hours ago
VIENNA, April 9 (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog's Board of Governors will hold an emergency meeting on Thursday at the request of both Ukraine and Russia to discuss attacks on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, after the enemies accused each other of drone attacks.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has said drones struck the Russian-held facility in southern Ukraine on Sunday, hitting one reactor building. It has not ascribed blame but has demanded such attacks stop.
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Russia said on Tuesday that Ukraine had again attacked the plant with drones, for a third day. Kyiv said it had nothing to do with any such attacks, and any incidents were staged by Moscow.
Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly accused one another of targeting Zaporizhzhia since it was captured by Russian forces in the first weeks of Moscow's invasion of its neighbour in 2022; both sides deny attacking it.
All reactors are shut down at Europe's largest nuclear power station, located near the Ukraine war's front line, but it requires constant power to cool the reactors and prevent a potentially catastrophic meltdown.
In a confidential note to member states seen by Reuters on Tuesday, the chairperson of the 35-member IAEA Board said Ukraine and Russia had both written to him the previous day requesting an extraordinary meeting.
"I hereby notify the Members of the Board that a meeting of the Board has been arranged as follows: 3 p.m. (1300 GMT) on Thursday, 11 April 2024," the note said.
Russian and Ukrainian letters were attached to the chairperson's note. Russia said it wanted a meeting on "the recent attacks and provocations of the armed forces of Ukraine" against Zaporizhzhia. Kyiv said it wanted to discuss "the situation in Ukraine and the safety, security and safeguards implications".
The rules, opens new tabof the Board, the Vienna-based IAEA's top decision-making body that meets several times a year, state that any country on it can call a meeting. Both Russia and Ukraine are on the Board this year.
A Board meeting would be unlikely to bring clarity as to who was behind recent attacks.
The Board has passed four resolutions since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022 condemning Russian actions against Ukrainian nuclear facilities. The most recent was last month, calling on Russia to withdraw from Zaporizhzhia.
Only China has joined Russia in opposing those resolutions. Diplomats said they had not heard of a push for a resolution on Thursday, which would be more difficult at such short notice.
The Reuters Daily Briefing newsletter provides all the news you need to start your day.  
Reporting by Francois Murphy; editing by Andrew Heavens, Philippa Fletcher, Mark Heinrich, Peter Graff

New signs providing information about emergency sirens posted in SLO County

SLO Early Warning System Sign
April 9, 2024 12:12 pm
Published  12:01 pm
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – San Luis Obispo County is in the process of installing updated signage providing information for its emergency early warning system.
The green and white colored signs include information in both English and Spanish and can be found in various high visible locations, including beaches, parks and other areas where people frequent.
"You can find them at parks and beaches, RV parks. hiking trails, pretty much anywhere that the public would go to recreate," said Kaitlin Munds, San Luis Obispo County Emergency Services Coordinator. "We added about 60 (new signs) throughout the area."
The signs inform visitors and locals if they hear a steady siren for three minutes, they should go indoors and tune into a local television or radio station.
"I really appreciate," said Sacramento resident Raquel Kennedy, while visiting Pismo Preserve on Tuesday morning. "I think it's very helpful because as tourists here, we wouldn't have known what the siren was about."

While the signs are posted in the Diablo Canyon Emergency Planning Zone, the sirens used in the early warning system, are in place to inform the public on several potential emergency situations, including fire, tsunami, dam failure, etc.

"They were put in place for Diablo Canyon Power Plant emergencies," said Munds. "However, we might use them in other emergency situations should, there be a need. However, because they are only in the emergency planning zone. there are other alert notification systems that we would use as well. depending on the situation."

Should the sirens sound, it indicates that the Emergency Alert System (EAS) has been activated, and emergency information will be provided on local radio and television stations.

In an effort to bring awareness about the new signs and the important information they provide, the San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services has started a social media effort to get the word out.

The new signs replace older models that were colored plain brown and many times blended into the environment, but the new versions are more eye-catching and attention-grabbing.

For more information about San Luis Obispo County emergency planning, visit

Below is a Fukushima City park sign, taken by Akemi, a single mother who had voluntarily evacuated from Fukushima City to Kyoto, over 500 km (310 miles) away, when she visited her parents’ home in Fukushima City in March 2013.
English translation.
Original sign.
More Fukushima stories. 

Three articles on drone attacks on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

  Ukraine detonates drone against reactor dome at Russian-occupied nuclear power plant
Ukrainian forces detonated a drone against the dome covering a shut-down nuclear reactor at the massive Russian-occupied power plant in southeast Ukraine on Sunday, according to Kremlin and interna…

  Drones attack the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
The head of the U.N.’s atomic watchdog agency has condemned a drone strike on one of six nuclear reactors at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine


For Immediate Use:  Friday, April 5, 2024

Contact:  David Kraft,

GAO Report: NRC Inadequately Addresses Climate Disruption Threat to Reactors

CHICAGO—A Government Accountability Office Report draws conclusions about nuclear reactor operation that should make public officials, agencies and policy makers from the most nuclear-reliant state in the U.S. take notice – and action.

The GAO report - NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS: NRC Should Take Actions to Fully Consider the Potential Effects of Climate Change  -- asserts that,  “NRC [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] doesn't fully consider potential increases in risk from climate change.”

“Illinois has the most operating nuclear reactors (11), has recently repealed a moratorium on constructing new ones, and is keen on opening the doors for new experimental reactors.  This report should be a warning shot that more preparation and attention to ongoing nuclear safety in an increasingly  climate disrupted world is in order,” observes David Kraft, director of the Nuclear Energy Information Service, a 42-year old nuclear power watchdog organization, based in Chicago.

The Report indicates seven likely climate-related effects that could have safety implications for operating nuclear reactors, both present-day designs and future, experimental reactor types like “small modular nuclear reactors.” (SMNRs)

“…nuclear power plants can be affected by natural hazards—including heat, drought, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, sea level rise, and extreme cold weather events—some of which are expected to be exacerbated by climate change, with effects varying by region….”

“Risks to nuclear power plants from these [climate disruption] hazards include loss of offsite power, damage to systems and equipment, and diminished cooling capacity, potentially resulting in reduced operations or plant shutdowns.”

“Some of these climate-related effects have already occurred in Illinois and elsewhere,” Kraft notes. “The severe Illinois drought in 1988 resulted in 100 reactor-days of operation being curtailed or completely shut down.  That drought was ‘climate disruption lite,’” he reports.

Illinois has already experienced heightened levels of heat (p.15) and area drought, and periodic regional flooding – which the GAO reports as being high probability (p.20).  Illinois has also shown a dramatic increase in tornado frequency, leading the nation in 2023 with 136.

In its defense the NRC claims that its current regimen of reactor safety review provides “adequate assurance” that reactors are operating safely and the public is protected.

“We wonder how many NRC officials book flights on airlines that provide only ‘adequate’ fuel levels and maintenance to their aircraft?” Kraft asks.

NEIS also notes that the Report highlights that there is a significant difference between claiming assurances and proving them:

“The GAO notes that, “NRC primarily uses historical data in its licensing and oversight processes rather than climate projections data. NRC officials GAO interviewed said they believe their current processes provide an adequate margin of safety to address climate risks. However, NRC has not conducted an assessment to demonstrate that this is the case.” (emphasis ours)

“Talk is cheap,” states NEIS’ Kraft.  “When one bad day at the office can turn Illinois into the Belarus of North America, Illinois officials at all levels should insist that NRC actually conduct reassessments of their reactor standards, anticipating climate changes,” he asserts.

The GAO makes three recommendations to begin to address this NRC failing:

·The Chair of the NRC should direct NRC staff to assess whether its licensing and oversight processes adequately address the potential for increased risks to nuclear power plants from climate change. (Recommendation 1)
·The Chair of the NRC should direct NRC staff to develop, finalize, and implement a plan to address any gaps identified in its assessment of existing processes. (Recommendation 2)

·The Chair of the NRC should direct NRC staff to develop and finalize guidance on incorporating climate projections data into relevant processes, including what sources of climate projections data to use and when and how to use climate projections data. (Recommendation 3).

“While we welcome any and all efforts to improve reactor safety, we also must point out how pathetic and profoundly worrisome it is that a $1+ billion Agency demonstrates such a lack of foresight, initiative and perhaps even competence to understand that the climate crisis is profoundly affecting their core mission,” Kraft laments.  “It is this seeming indifference to its task that has led many over the years to complain that “NRC” stands for ‘Not Really Concerned.’”

“Our Governor and the Illinois Delegation to Congress need to light a much needed fire under this Agency to protect Illinois,” Kraft concludes.


Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS) was formed in 1981 to watchdog the nuclear power industry, and to promote a renewable, non-nuclear energy future.



David A. Kraft, Director
NRC should assess if its reactor licensing process adequately considers climate risks: GAO
The federal watchdog found that the NRC’s natural hazard assessments “do not fully consider potential climate change effects,” such as extreme heat, drought, wildfires and hurricanes.

Published April 4, 2024

By Brian Martucci


Pacific Gas & Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo, California. The Nuclear Regulatory Commision does not fully account for climate risks in its reactor licensing and oversight processes, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said April 2, 2024. simonkr via Getty Images

Dive Brief:

  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commision does not fully account for future climate risks in its reactor licensing and oversight processes, the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report released Tuesday.
  • NRC officials interviewed by the GAO said they believe current NRC risk assessment processes adequately consider climate risk, but the commission has not made a formal assessment on the question, the report said.
  • “Our position is that as we go forward, [the NRC] should take the best available information on what to expect from climate change and use that to supplement their risk assessments,” GAO Natural Resources and Environment Director Frank Rusco told Utility Dive in an interview.

Dive Insight:

The NRC considers a broad range of safety threats in its licensing and operational oversight processes, including wildfires, high winds, extreme heat and cold, flooding, hurricanes and drought.

The commission closely examined flooding risk after the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan, which partially melted down and released radioactive water after it lost backup power in an earthquake-induced tsunami. It published a final rule in 2019 that would require operating commercial reactors and new reactor license applicants to ensure uninterrupted reactor cooling following the loss of normal backup power.

Despite criticism from the Union of Concerned Scientists and others that the rule was not stringent enough, it did address a notable weakness in nuclear safety protocols, Rusco said.

“The NRC is a bit ahead of the game on flooding because of Fukushima,” he said.

However, the NRC currently uses historical climate data to assess other safety risks that could worsen due to climate change, the GAO found. Ahead of an anticipated flurry of new license applications for reactors “that could be around for another 80 years,” the NRC should be “looking ahead” as climate models improve and incorporate new data, Rusco said.

The GAO report made three recommendations to the NRC:

  • The commission ought to assess whether its current licensing and oversight processes adequately account for increased risks due to climate change;
  • Should that assessment find any gaps in existing processes that could threaten nuclear safety, the commission ought to devise and implement a plan to address them; and
  • Moving forward, the commission should determine which climate projections to use in licensing and operational oversight processes and establish guidelines for how and when to incorporate those data.

In written comments included in the GAO report, the NRC noted that “the three recommendations are consistent with actions that are either underway or under development.” But Rusco reiterated that the NRC does not currently incorporate climate projections into its licensing and oversight processes.

”It could well be that if they looked at all the [climate change] projections now, even worst-case scenario projections, they’d compare those against their [safety protocols] and say, ‘We’re still good,’” Rusco said. “But they don’t know that unless they look.” 

The GAO report did not suggest that the U.S. commercial nuclear fleet faces acute climate-related safety threats today, and any future threats would be site-specific, Rusco said. It’s likely that extreme weather events would first impact reactor performance rather than safety, such as an extended heatwave that affected a reactor’s supply of cooling water, he added. 

“We don’t want to give the impression that all these plants are unsafe because of climate change,” Rusco said. But it’s better for nuclear plant operators, utilities, ratepayers and the NRC itself that the commission builds forward-looking climate data into its processes, he added.

“In the end, that’s going to save money for operators and ratepayers,” he said. “You don’t want to have to make costly upgrades as the climate changes.”

Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: IV-24-008 April 5, 2024
CONTACT: Victor Dricks, 817-200-1128
NRC Proposes $45,000 Civil Penalty Against International Isotopes
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed an $45,000 civil penalty against International Isotopes of Idaho Falls, Idaho, for violations of NRC requirements associated with the import and transfer of radioactive materials. The violations were documented in a December 2023 inspection report.
International Isotopes uses radioactive materials in the manufacture of devices for medical and industrial applications.
The violations had no adverse impact on the health and safety of the public.
The NRC held a regulatory conference with company representatives at its Region IV office in Arlington, Texas, on January 30. It issued its enforcement decision after reviewing the circumstances surrounding the proposed violations and considering any actions the company may have taken to comply with NRC regulations.
The company has 30 days to pay the fine, dispute it, or request involvement from a neutral third-party mediator to resolve the issue.