WASHINGTON — The nuclear industry has not cooperated with the federal government in tightening maintenance rules for nuclear power plants, the outgoing head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said today.
"The nuclear industry should have been more cooperative with us and they were not," said Lando Zech, who steps down as NRC chairman Friday after a three-year term.
Zech said the state of the nuclear industry as a whole is healthy, but added that he was "somewhat disappointed" to have made little progress on tightening maintenance standards.
Zech said the nuclear industry, which has not applied to build a new nuclear plant in 11 years, faces an uncertain future.
"Nuclear power supplies 20% of U.S. electricity needs safely now, but it's impossible to say where we're going," Zech said. "I have no crystal ball."
Zech will be replaced by NRC Commissioner Kenneth Carr.