US nuclear chief says US power plants are safer after Japan crisis

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Allison Macfarlane said that American nuclear power plants are safer than ever after the nuclear crisis in Japan.

The claims have been disputed by the Union of Concerned Scientists (USC), which released a paper stating that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) remained inconsistent in maintaining nuclear plant safety.

According to the report, many of the significant safety lapses at US nuclear power plants in 2012 happened because plant owners and the NRC, either tolerated known problems or failed to address them adequately.

The UCS said 14 serious incidents, ranging from broken or impaired safety equipment to a cooling water leak, were reported in 2012.

UCS director nuclear safety project and author of the report Dave Lochbaum said that it was evident that the NRC could be capable of being an effective watchdog.

“Too often the agency does not live up to its potential, and we are still finding significant problems at nuclear plants that could trigger a serious accident,” Lochbaum added.

The report also noted that the NRC has routinely failed to enforce its rules governing reactor coolant leaks.