Containment at 3 Japan reactors intact: Commission

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission met to get an update from staff on the ongoing crisis in Japan.

Last Updated: Mar 21, 2011, 23:45 PM IST

Rockville: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Monday said that containment at three reactors at Japan`s crippled nuclear complex is currently
intact and the situation at the plant appears to be
stabilising.

The commission met to get an update from staff on the
ongoing crisis in Japan and devise a plan to meet President
Barack Obama`s call for a comprehensive safety review at the
104 US nuclear reactors.

Bill Borchardt, the commission`s executive director
for operations, said that units 1, 2 and 3 at the Fukushima
Dai-ichi plant have some core damage but that containment for
those three reactors is not currently breached.

"I would say optimistically that things appear to be
on the verge of stabilising," Borchardt said.

Borchardt defended the agency`s decision to not close
some older nuclear plants, as Germany did.

Borchardt said officials have "asked ourselves every
day" since the tsunami whether US plants should be shut down.

"I am 100 per cent certain that we have sufficient basis to
conclude that US plants continue to operate safely," he said.

Borchardt also defended the commission`s
recommendation that US citizens stay at least 80 kms away from
the troubled Fukushima plant.

Current US guidelines call for a 16-km evacuation zone
around all US nuclear plants, and some critics have suggested
that the NRC was imposing a stricter standard on Japan than on
US nuclear reactors.

Borchardt said the recommendation was made based on
conditions at the plant, adding that if the same conditions
occurred in the United States, "we would have done the same
analysis and gone through the same thought process to consider
extending the evacuation zone or whatever (other) protective
measures we thought were appropriate."

PTI