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Nuclear Regulatory Commission

NATIONAL
July 13, 2011 | By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
The staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a dozen recommendations Wednesday to improve the safety of U.S. reactors, responding to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan four months ago. The 96-page report called for improving accident mitigation, strengthening emergency preparedness and improving the agency's regulatory programs, but fell far short of what outside experts have advocated for a wholesale upgrading of nuclear safety....
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 25, 2011 | By Jack Dolan and Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
The federal government's radiation alert network in California is not fully functional, leaving the stretch of coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco without the crucial real-time warning system in the event of a nuclear emergency. Six of the Environmental Protection Agency's 12 California sensors ? including the three closest to the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant near San Luis Obispo ? are sending data with "anomalies" to the agency's laboratory in Montgomery, Ala., said Mike Bandrowski, manager of the EPA's radiation program.
SCIENCE
March 21, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Although officials of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday that conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant appear to have stabilized and that the containment vessels at three reactors had not been seriously breached, smoke was reported rising from two reactors Monday evening. The cause of the smoke was unknown, however, and it did not appear to be associated with a radiation spike. The executive director of the NRC, Bill Borchardt, said Monday that the agency's staff in Japan reported that the three reactors that had shut down following the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake 10 days ago probably have suffered some core damage but do not appear to be leaking significant quantities of radiation.
SCIENCE
March 20, 2011 | By Karen Kaplan and Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
Radiation levels at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan are still high but may be tapering off, a senior U.S. nuclear official said Sunday. Indications from the plant, which houses six nuclear reactors, were levels in the range of hundreds of millisieverts per hour, said Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The duration of those levels was unclear. The exposure limit for Japanese workers was recently raised to 250 millisieverts per year.
NEWS
March 17, 2011 | By Christi Parsons and Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times
President Obama called for a comprehensive review of U.S. nuclear plant safety  on Thursday and sought to reassure Americans that they face no radiation danger from a damaged nuclear power plant in Japan. In televised remarks from the Rose Garden,  Obama again pledged  to help Japan deal with its on-going nuclear and humanitarian crises caused by last week’s 9.0 magnitude earthquake that struck off the coast and sent a tsunami racing across the Pacific Ocean. The quake also damaged the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, sending radiation across the ocean.
WORLD
March 17, 2011 | By Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
The nuclear crisis in Japan could last for weeks, the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Thursday. Still, officials are not concerned about harmful radiation levels coming to the United States. The main challenge at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is getting more water to cool the stricken nuclear reactors and spent-fuel pool. When no cooling occurs, it is possible for dangerous levels of radiation to be emitted. Photos: Crisis continues in Japan "This is something that will likely take some time to work through, possibly weeks, as eventually you remove the majority of the heat from the reactors and the spent-fuel pools.
SCIENCE
March 16, 2011 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
-- As the crisis continues to unfold at the Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power plant, a growing disparity between Japanese and U.S. attitudes toward the problem is becoming apparent. Whereas Japanese authorities have generally been restrained in their pronouncements about the risks, American officials are becoming increasingly vocal. Japanese officials, for example, have consistently said the amount of radiation escaping from the damaged power plant remains relatively small.
NATIONAL
March 16, 2011 | By Kathleen Hennessey and Don Lee, Washington Bureau
Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Tuesday restated the Obama administration's commitment to keeping nuclear power in the mix of renewable sources under development in the U.S., but treaded carefully around questions of how the nuclear disaster in Japan might affect that effort. "The administration believes we must rely on a diverse set of energy sources, including renewables like wind and solar, natural gas, clean coal and nuclear power," Chu said before a House subcommittee. "The administration is committed to learning from Japan's experience as we work to continue to strengthen America's nuclear industry.
NEWS
March 14, 2011 | By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
The threat to the United States of a meltdown at a Japanese nuclear plant is minimal, the chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday. Speaking at the White House, Gregory Jaczko said there is "a very low probability" of harmful radiation levels affecting any U.S. territories, and that the government is providing technical assistance to Japanese officials in response to the crisis at Fukushima No. 1 (Daiichi) nuclear power plant. "Right now, based on the information we have, we believe that the steps that the Japanese are taking to respond to this crisis are consistent with the approach that we would use here in the United States," Jaczko said.
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