Fukushima Five Years Later: Where Does U.S. Nuclear Safety Stand Now?

updated fukushima graphic

The U.S. nuclear industry is safer after making fleet-wide improvements over the past five years since the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in Japan, industry, regulators and safety advocates say.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission mandated safety improvements as a result of lessons learned from the 2011 nuclear plant disaster in Japan.

“I think the plants are safer than they were five years ago,” NRC Chairman Stephen Burns told Bloomberg BNA. “A lot of the things we've done, I believe, have made a safe situation safer.”

He said the NRC has focused on how plants can safely shut down a reactor during a “beyond-design-basis event,” such as a natural disaster.

“If I lose the ability to control the plant, even with the equipment that is robustly designed and available, if I lose that, how can I recover? That's what a lot of this is focused on,” Burns said.

Bloomberg BNA reporter Rebecca Kern reported the story.