NRC blind to climate disaster pointed at power plants: GAO

The possible disastrous impact of climate change on America’s nuclear power plants is not a high priority, raising the fear that dozens could be ravaged like Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was in a 2011 tsunami.

In a scolding new report, the Government Accountability Office said that the impact of global warming and climate change, issues the Biden administration has been hyping and warning about for over three years, is an afterthought at the agency approving designs and overseeing safety of America’s clean energy source.

“Climate change is expected to exacerbate natural hazards — including heat, drought, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, and sea level rise. In addition, climate change may affect extreme cold weather events. Risks to nuclear power plants from these hazards include loss of offsite power, damage to systems and equipment, and diminished cooling capacity, potentially resulting in reduced operations or plant shutdowns,” the 73-page report said.

But at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, staff “doesn’t fully consider potential increases in risk from climate change. For example, NRC mostly uses historical data to identify and assess safety risks, rather than data from future climate projections,” the GAO said.

If climate change really does cause the disasters predicted by Team Biden, the dangers to the nation’s nuclear power plants could be catastrophic.

For example, GAO said that 60 of 75 plants are in potential flood zones. Some 16 of 75 are in areas that have the potential for wildfires. And 37 of 75 are in coastal areas expected to experience sea rises and flooding just like in the Japan disaster that followed an earthquake.

Still, “NRC’s actions to address risks to nuclear power plants from natural hazards in its licensing, license renewal, and inspection processes do not fully consider the potential increased risks from natural hazards that may be exacerbated by climate change,” the auditor said.


In its response, the NRC said it was doing a good job assessing the danger to power plants to “provide reasonable assurance regarding any plausible natural hazard,” GAO said.

But the audit concluded with big doubts. “We continue to believe that NRC cannot fully consider potential climate change effects on plants without using the best available information — including climate projections data — in its licensing and oversight processes,” GAO said.

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