On December 27, Holtec International, which makes storage casks for high level radioactive waste, was surprised to learn that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) was bringing enforcement action against the firm. In an unusual move, the NRC filed a complaint against Holtec for neglecting to conduct a written evaluation prior to installing a new bolt design system for inside its radioactive waste casks. Holtec challenged the enforcement action and at a January 9 hearing before the NRC, its president Krishna Singh described the issue as “Much ado about nothing.” The firm’s cask specifications, originally approved by the NRC, state that the bolts are “required for cooling of the system to prevent [waste] fuel damage and to prevent the [waste] from going critical” (an uncontrolled nuclear reaction), said Donna Gilmore of San Onofre Safety. As a result of the flawed design that was later approved by the NRC, bolts inside as many as 51 casks have bent or fallen off. The exact number is unknown, since the interior of a loaded cask cannot be inspected, according to the NRC. The Brattleboro Reformer reported that similar Holtec casks are being used to store radioactive waste at reactor sites in California, Vermont, Illinois, Mississippi, Georgia, Washington, Tennessee, and Missouri. Despite the generally permissive relationship between the regulatory agency and Holtec, they also threatened to bring additional unnamed charges. A final decision regarding the complaint and further enforcement actions will take up to 60 days.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.