As the year comes to an end, the NRC continues to evaluate the lessons learned from the March 2011 nuclear accident in Japan to ensure that appropriate safety enhancements are implemented at nuclear power plants here in the U.S. We at the NRC take the tragic accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant very seriously, and are striving to gain insights from the accident to improve nuclear safety here at home.
Earlier this year, the Commission directed technical experts on the NRC staff to develop recommendations for enhancing reactor safety at U.S. plants. This direction resulted in a July 2011 report that identified 12 over-arching recommendations from what is known as the Near-Term Task Force.
We’ve established a group of 24, full-time employees to focus exclusively on the implementation of the recommendations. These employees are experts in nuclear power plant design and operations and emergency preparedness. The group is called the Japan Lessons-Learned Project Directorate. The directorate will support a steering committee consisting of senior agency managers to coordinate and implement the task force recommendations per with our Commission’s direction, including its goal of striving to implement the recommendations within five years.
An important aspect of our path forward is stakeholder engagement with members of the public. We will seek input through public meetings to help us determine whether changes may be required to improve safety at U.S. nuclear power plants.
David L. Skeen was recently named as head of the directorate. He’s been involved in the U.S. response since the tsunami hit Fukushima. He has more than 20 years experience as a reactor engineer and policy advisor, and excellent skills and experience to effectively lead the effort.
We will keep you up to date on our activities here, and on the dedicated Japan page on the NRC web site.