NEI praises NRC decision to waive external filter requirement

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) voiced its support for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to not pursue rulemaking that would require the installation of external vent filters, the institute announced Thursday.

This past week, the NRC voted 3-1 to abandon a rulemaking procedure that would require nuclear power plants like those involved in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster to install external containment vent filters to limit damage from a meltdown event.

Their decision is based on actions being taken by the nuclear industry that already meet post-Fukushima safety requirements through the use of water addition combined with controlled venting to alleviate heat and pressure of containment units.

“Research conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute and independently by the NRC over more than three years has overwhelmingly shown that for boiling water reactors with Mark I and II containments, the best way to maintain the integrity of reactor containments and reduce the risk of radiation releases in the event of a severe accident accompanied by fuel damage is by active fuel cooling and controlled containment venting," NEI Chief Operations Officer Maria Korsnick said. "Water addition also cools damaged nuclear fuel, preventing damage to the containment.”

These safety measures have been approved by NRC staff as research has shown enhancements being implemented would provide little benefit to the filters.

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Nuclear Energy Institute

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