"The ‘hearing’ starts — not very reassuring about NRC oversight"
NRC Chair Klein: Streamlined licensing [in the 2005 Energy Policy bill, I think] is not happening yet because all the new nuke proposals (but one) use designs that are not certified.
[Jargon alert: COL stands for combined Construction and Operating License (COL). "The COL process is a 'one-step' licensing process by which nuclear plant public health and safety concerns are resolved prior to commencement of construction, and NRC approves and issues a license to build and operate a new nuclear power plant."]
NRC’s Lyons: New reactor designs may be better, but requires more NRC funds for analysis/oversight.
NRC’s Svinicki: [pronounced "Savenicki"]. She’s new. She’s working harder than when she was a Senate staffer.
First Round of Questions
Voinovich — 3.5 years for new design review is a lot. What is impact of continuing resolution (CR)?
Lyons — Challenging if CR goes beyond February. Will slow new design review. France has a more standard process. We have more vendors.
NRC’s Jaczko: Will have trouble beating 3.5 years. AP1000 has outstanding issues. As do other designs. GE came in with a modification of their design. CR might stop all review of new designs.
Lautenberg: 2007 IG said NRC doesn’t keep records of audits/review applications. Is that right?
NRC’s Jaczko: Maybe. Auditors don’t keep their notes (!!).
Klein: IG says it found no weakness in technical review [Lautenberg: weakness is in the "audit trail."]
Now I’m really interested in hearing what Hubert Bell, NRC’ inspector general, has to say on my panel. Wonder if anyone but Carper will stay to question him?
Lautenberg: Oyster Creek relicensing — NRC didn’t use the best (3D) technology for analysis until an outside group raised the issue.
Klein: Oyster Creek is under NRC review. I can’t discuss it.
Man, it’s already 11:20. I’m gonna be here a while! Probably won’t be speaking until noonish.
Inhofe: We’re getting bogged down in details.
Safety is apparently a “detail” for Inhofe.
Lautenberg leaves. Sen. Cardin is here.
Sen. Sanders: Fine for Entergy for this mishap [shows picture of water tower bursting]?
Sanders: Public would be surprised. Yucca ain’t never gonna happen. Why talk about dozens of new plants until we have storage problem solved.
Lyons: Dry cask storage — NRC has highest confidence. Is that appropriate national policy? Not for NRC to decide.
Sanders: Staff tells me new nukes could cost $20 billion is a hell of a lot of money. Is that right?
NRC: We don’t do economics. Simply not our business…. $20 billion may be right for twin units.
Sanders leaves. Alas.
Craig: Nukes producing hydrogen. Process heat.
Ain’t gonna happen, Larry. Hydrogen is a dead end and no factory wants to be located near enough to a nuke for cogeneration to work.
Almost noon — only two Senators left, Carper and Voinovich.