Enhanced security at nuclear power plants

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Agency for Nuclear Safety has ordered major changes in U.S. nuclear power plants on Friday, two days before the first anniversary of the nuclear crisis in Japan.

The agency has asked the nuclear power plants to install or improve their ventilation systems to prevent damage to reactor cores, and install sophisticated equipment to monitor the water level in the tanks of spent nuclear fuel.

Plants should also improve the protection of the safety equipment installed after the attacks of September 11, 2001 and to ensure it can handle any damage in several reactors at the same time.

These are the first guidelines issued by the U.S. Agency for Nuclear Safety (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) since the earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011 in Japan, which caused extensive damage to the nuclear plant in Fukushima. The tsunami has melted the hearts of three reactors, causing the worst nuclear crisis since the Chernobyl accident in 1986.

The president of the U.S. Agency for Nuclear Safety, Gregory Jaczko, called the new guidelines of “significant step forward in our efforts post-Fukushima.”

“Of course, there is still much work ahead,” said Jaczko in a statement.

U.S. nuclear power plants have until the end of 2016 to comply with the guidelines issued Friday.

The United States has 104 nuclear reactors in 65 power plants.


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