Isn’t it funny that they only pay attention to this stuff when they have to?
WASHINGTON — Almost all American nuclear power plants have backup batteries that would last only half as long as those at Japan’s troubled Fukushima Daiichi plant did after a tsunami knocked out power there, an expert testified Tuesday at a Senate committee briefing on nuclear safety.
An industry official, addressing the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, conceded that battery life was “one of the obvious places” that nuclear operators would examine for potential improvements.
David Lochbaum, a nuclear expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, which generally takes a critical tone toward nuclear reactors, said that just 11 of the nation’s 104 plants had eight-hour batteries, and 93 had four-hour batteries. The batteries are not powerful enough to run pumps that direct cooling water, but they can operate valves and can power instruments that give readings of water levels, flow and temperatures.
In the meantime, Japanese officials are considering stem cell transplants for workers at the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor.