Feds Cutting Back On Nuclear Power Plant Safety Because Honestly, Why Bother

by Josh Fruhlinger

This is the bright side of coming atomic death!The last few years has been pretty much a nonstop ride of positive safety PR for the nuclear power industry, right? I mean, this is an technology that absorbed an enormous earthquake and tsunami and barely even killed anyone/left whole towns uninhabitable/terrified the world. Nuclear power couldn’t even bring harm to erstwhile Wonkette scribe Jack Stuef! So really, why should Americans be spending our precious tax dollars on making our own nuclear power plants safer, when that money could be diverted to more pressing needs (tax cuts for billionaires, hott new missile defense systems, capital gains tax cuts … just spitballing here). But don’t worry, we don’t need those gridlocked crumbums in Congress to make these important decisions, since they were already put into place by updates to obscure federal regulations six months ago.

You know what really sucks and is boring is practicing stuff, as we remember very clearly from high school band, where we had to go to rehearsal every morning before school and lessons and (theoretically) practice on our own during the week and yet never once did we become a prominent jazz trombonist! Therefore practice is for losers, and there’s no point in practicing for what would happen if a nuclear plant released a “significant amount of radiation,” which totally works out because now you can have training exercises at nuclear plants that don’t deal with that at all!

Also, anyone who has ever tried to maintain an old broken down car knows what a pain it is to keep ancient equipment going past its prime. That’s why you’ll be relieved to hear that the Feds have relaxed the safety regulations for nuclear power plants operating beyond their design life, since living up those regulations would be hard and it’s not like we don’t still need the electricity even though those plants are like 50 years old now, amiright?

Anyway, don’t worry too much about this, because the number of Americans living within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant has really dropped in the last few decades. Oh, wait, did we say dropped, we meant “ballooned by as much as 4 1/2 times since 1980.” Enjoy the circa 1998 stylings of the Associated Press’s website (“Best viewed in Netscape Navigator 4!”) while your Wonkette turns the basement into an air-tight, lead-lined safety chamber. [AP]

 
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{ 120 comments }

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 2:38 pm

I, for one, welcome the immediate death that the meltdown of Indian Point 1, 2, OR 3 would bring,

nounverb911 May 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Just because it's sitting on an earthquake fault…..

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Sure, blame someone else. It's always someone else's fault.

DemmeFatale May 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm

And just because the terrorists navigating down the Hudson River used it as a landmark on the way to the World Trade Center…

And they don't "dry cask" their nuclear waste…

And there is no escape route for millions of people…

NorfolkAndWay May 16, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Unfortunately, it's never immediate unless there's a bomb involved. Even if you climbed into the core and back out, it would take several horrific hours.

SorosBot May 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

As long as nuclear safety technician Homer Simpson is on the job, we'll all be safe!

not that Radio May 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

"Who'd have thought a nuclear reactor would be so complicated!"

Baconzgood May 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

"Oh my god! Oh god no! Oh this can't be happening! You're operating without a T-437, Springfield! Oh sweet mother of mercy! I mean, my god!"

SorosBot May 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Homer, your bravery and quick thinking have turned a potential Chernobyl into a mere Three-Mile Island.

not that Radio May 16, 2012 at 8:26 pm

"I think it's ironic that Dad saved the day, while a slimmer man would've fallen to his death."

not that Radio May 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm

"The fingers you have used to dial are too fat. To obtain a special dialing wand, please mash the keypad with your palm, now."

doloras May 16, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Where's my Tab?

Gratuitous World May 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

government needs to stay out of our cancer

MarionNYNY May 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

I'm looking forward to the coming zombie apocalypse.

BaldarTFlagass May 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

When the South Texas Nuclear Plant goes all Chernobyl, I hope I get a cool mutation, like being able to see through women's clothes or something. Knowing my luck, though, I'll probably just get thyroid cancer.

DaRooster May 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Or go blind.

And in Tejas isn't it- New-cue-lear?

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Nook-you-ler

tejanojim May 16, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Close. I would render it as "Nuke-ya-ler".

widestanceromance May 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Being blind in Texas would be a blessing, like being deaf in Florida.

BaldarTFlagass May 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Close. Nu-clear, pronounced nu-kew-ler. "In the fewcher, we're gonna git are paar from nuculer plants instead o' awl."

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I hope I get a cool mutation, like being able to see through women's clothes or something.

It's called a "water hose"….

BaldarTFlagass May 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Subtlety is not your strong suit, is it?

Wile E. Quixote May 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Yeah, I'd probably just get thyroid cancer, or end up being exposed to a bone-seeker like Strontium 90 and having all of my marrow rot. Plus even if I did get a super power it would probably be something totally lame, like always having exact change or some shit like that. Still, it would be better than being Aquaman.

NorfolkAndWay May 16, 2012 at 10:02 pm

STP can't "go Chernobyl" – totally different design.

MadBrahms May 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I'm one of those much-hated lefties who actually approves of nuclear power, at least until we can get our ridiculous consumption patterns under control, but good goddam, what?

I suppose I could get behind this if we sent the billionaires refund checks laced with strontium.

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I support nuclear power too but only as a stopgap between fossil fuels and renewables.

I recognize there's an huge risk involved. I'm just willing to roll the dice on the risk that *could* happen versus the shit we're doing to ourselves already.

spinozasgod May 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I agree, I am OK with nucear power as long as there are strict regulation, but this nuts……

SoBeach May 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm

There are plenty of similar lefties. Every kwh coming out of nukular plants is one less generated from burning the dirtiest, cheapest oil available. And the pile of left over poison is all in one place, rather than dispersed in the atmosphere. That's the plan, anyway.

Terry May 16, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Maybe the billionaires who receive the tax cuts should be the one responding to a problem with the reactors.

Biel_ze_Bubba May 16, 2012 at 6:25 pm

I think the Hamptons, Cos Cob, and Martha's Vineyard are great locations for nuke plants. Those huge private estates help minimize the at-risk population.

glamourdammerung May 16, 2012 at 4:49 pm

I have significant problems with nuclear power entirely because of weak regulation and dodgy enforcement.

DemmeFatale May 16, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Modern updates can make nuclear plants MUCH safer, but the sons-of-bitches fight them tooth and nail every time. (They whine about them being too expensive.)

tejanojim May 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm

I respect your position, and I used to be of the same mind. The more I learn about the nuclear power industry as it actually exists, rather than how we would like it to be, the more I oppose it. Also, too, you know where would be better to store high level radioactive waste than in spent fuel pools at each individual reactor? Almost anywhere, that's where.

BaldarTFlagass May 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm

That's a real optimistic post! Ken Layne redux!

DaRooster May 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm

This (too) is depressing.

These fucks are too stupid to live… long anyway.

V572 Is this him? May 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm

San Onofre, the nuke plant on the Camp Pendleton shoreline that supplies juice to San Diego and Orange counties and looks like an enormous pair of disembodied boobs, has been shut down for a few months now because the "steam generators" (an enormous nest of pipes called heat exchangers that move heat from radioactive water to non-radioactive water) are having difficulties. Chafing, apparently, from all the hot-and-cool cycles. No one knows why, or how to fix it.

NorthStarSpanx May 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I hate it when my boobs chafe too. Maybe some baby powder would help?

V572 Is this him? May 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Could you post some pictures demonstrating this?

SayItWithWookies May 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Have they tried turning it off and then turning it back on again?

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Yea, but it turns out you have to buy the plant flowers and dinner and a diamond ring and then get her drunk to turn her back on.

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Perhaps some sort of enclosure. We could call it the "Barometric Relief Assembly"….

BaldarTFlagass May 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Well, at least they shut it down, rather than just letting it go to see if the problem would become self-evident.

NorthStarSpanx May 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm

V572 – Why don't we all wait until I get my Gummy Bear implants?
http://www.gummy-bear-implants.org/

V572 Is this him? May 16, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Better living through chemistry!

MissNancyPriss May 16, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Really? I stay up at night worrying that those boobs. That sit on a faultline. Does "shut down" mean it can't still melt down and kill us? For now?

V572 Is this him? May 16, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Yep. Sleep tight

NorfolkAndWay May 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Hot-and-cool cycles is a low-cycle process. This tube wear is a high-cycle process – from flow-induced vibration. We know that's what it is, we just don't know why. No tube is going to leak, it will be plugged long before it gets to that point.

ChilLysol May 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm

In a Free Market, radiation works just like the "Invisible Hand": you can't see it, but it will still fuck you up.

DaRooster May 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Hey, just like the (current) free market!!

jesus_vs_gojira May 16, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Also it has magical powers.

Native_of_SL_UT May 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I want to be an omnipotent blue man too, mostly so nobody will dare mention that I'm walking around with my dick hanging out.
I have a feeling the GOP plan would make my dick fall off before achieving this goal though.

BaldarTFlagass May 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm

I saw their show out in Vegas a couple years back, but they didn't have their dicks showing.

BornInATrailer May 16, 2012 at 3:02 pm

It's going to be weird when, after the coming nuclear apocalypse, the cast members are actually blue, earless and mute.

V572 Is this him? May 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

You should have gone to "Puppetry of the Penis" instead. Plenty of dick on display there.

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Oh please! You know Dr Manhattan's junk worked, else why would Carla Guigino even bother with the dude???

widestanceromance May 16, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Of course, it might be fun to have a 12-foot P-E-N-I-S, where you gonna find a proportionate intestine to rupture, other than Gov. Christie (and who could face something like that?)?

HistoriCat May 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Where's the Lysol when you need it?

muthalovin May 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Superpowers for ALL!

ElPinche May 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Nuculars are good for you. They make you smart and strong and give you big CGI pee pees.

memzilla May 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Real men don't need nuclear safety regulations. All we have to do is call in Chuck Norris and he will kick those gamma ray's asses back into the containment vessel.

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Or expose Ethel Kennedy.

Corrugated Palin May 16, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Alternately, Chuck Norris dies a slow and painful death from radiation sickness.

It's win/win.

savethispatient May 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

It makes perfect sense that, like classic cars, classic nuclear facilities need not meet the same safety standards as modern ones. Otherwise, our children may grow up not knowing what a classic 1960s reactor looks like, or even fail to get exposed to a comic-book super-hero creating levels of radiation. And our children need heroes!

DaRooster May 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Since they won't have teachers soon.

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Really! No one is born a Viking god and lying in suspended animation under the polar ice caps takes too long, but a good shot of gamma radiation, and you too can save the planet!

DaRooster May 16, 2012 at 3:17 pm

GAWDZIRRA!

UW8316154 May 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Exactly. Plus, I grew up in the late 60's terrified of the fiery ball of radiation that would melt my family, why shouldn't the next generation?

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Well, in fairness, at least we would have had the early warning so we could kiss our asses goodbye.

DaRooster May 16, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Nonsense… just climb under your desk… duh.

bumfug May 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Silly liberals, afraid of tiny little things like atoms!

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

You can't even see them! What's next, afraid of a little virus, you pussies???

DemmeFatale May 16, 2012 at 9:08 pm

It's like believing in global warming when it's snowing!
Gah, sheeple!!

Allmighty_Manos May 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Hey, Israel's new missile defense system ain't going pay for itself.

BigSkullF*ckingDog May 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm

The Mayans say we don't need no steenking nuclear safety.

hagajim May 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Maybe a little radiation and I become Spiderman?

memzilla May 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Don't think of it as mutating radiation, think of it as X-Men auditions.

SayItWithWookies May 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

As long as we don't ruin the ocean view from Donald Trump's golf course*, I say the risk is worth it.

*Edit: meant to add "with unsightly wind turbines," which makes it slightly more understandable a comment. Dumbass.

Pragmatist2 May 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm

"…not with a bang but with a whimper…."

ElPinche May 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Check again with the feds. It's probably under nucular power.

Doktor StrangeZoom May 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm

you’ll be relieved to hear that the Feds have relaxed the safety regulations for nuclear power plants operating beyond their design life …

Makes sense to me. My 1973 Chevy, "Vlad the Impala," doesn't have to be emissions-tested, after all.

Jus_Wonderin May 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm

There is a strange comfort in just flat out knowing that, yes, this ton of steel does indeed emit toxins.

I can remember, though I shouldn't be able to, standing in the exhaust of my Mom's '62 Biscayne and thinking…this is really cool fog!!

actor212 May 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm

"Vlad the Impala"

I genuflect at your mastery.

DemmeFatale May 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm

So do I.
(I thought my daughter's car, "Brutus Prius" was good, but MAN!)

SmutBoffin May 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Can't we just make meltdowns illegal? Fissile material needs to understand that radioactive decay biased by slow neutron injection is a privilege, not a right.

Problem solved!

Baconzgood May 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I for one welcome our future glowing zombie overlords.

Callyson May 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

The revamp, the first since the program began after Three Mile Island in 1979, also eliminates a requirement that local responders always practice for a release of radiation.

Seriously–if those wimps can't handle a little radiation, they should become Wall Street bankers instead!

JFC…

ETA: So, what will those first responders do instead?

Under the new rules, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which run the program together, have added one new exercise: More than a decade after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, state and community police will now take part in exercises that prepare for a possible assault on their local plant.

Oh, for fuck's sake…

Biel_ze_Bubba May 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Prepare for an assault – right. They gonna put Sidewinder missles on top of the local cops' patrol cars?

Blueb4sunrise May 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm

This is gonna save the dirty-bomb terrorists a lot of trouble.

spinozasgod May 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I am all for this if we all get to be John Boehner orange.

chicken_thief May 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm

It'll prolly help make us all cry uncontrollably jes. like. John, too! Also!!!

Billmatic May 16, 2012 at 2:57 pm

Big deal we'll all just have super powers. I hope I get something good and not something lame like Jubilee.

Spurning Beer May 16, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Shut up, you whiny nancies. Atoms are completely natural.

V572 Is this him? May 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Eh, not exactly. Plutonium is man-made.

George Spelvin May 16, 2012 at 7:10 pm

It's a fission product, essentially.

V572 Is this him? May 16, 2012 at 7:23 pm

Right, but is it wrong to say that it and all the other trans-uranic elements are “man-made” in that they only come into existence as a result of human activity?

George Spelvin May 17, 2012 at 1:03 am

Sorry. That was intended to be a lame Megyn Kelly joke, but apparently all I achieved was the "lame" part.

You are of course right about the transuranics.

WhatTheHeck May 16, 2012 at 3:01 pm

I’m still waiting for my nookuler-powered DeLorean so I can get back to the fission.

Jus_Wonderin May 16, 2012 at 3:07 pm

I always wondered how many miles per banana peel we will get when that car is a reality.

iburl May 16, 2012 at 3:05 pm

OT: Randall "Hate my gay son" Terry has kindly invited all of us "child-killers" to his new WARBLOG to be verbally assaulted! C U there!!

@RightWingWatch: Randall Terry invites "child-killers" at @Jezebel & @Wonkette to his new anti-choice website http://t.co/NqDzs7am

UW8316154 May 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Enticing, but….wouldn't it be funnier if Randy threw down a WARBLOG challenge and nobody showed up?

iburl May 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm

That's pretty much what is happening as far as I could see.

DemmeFatale May 16, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Not. Taking. The. Bait.

JustPixelz May 16, 2012 at 3:06 pm

"…nuclear power plants operating beyond their design life…"

(That's a phrase usually associated with Albania or Uz-becki-becki-becki-stan-stan.)

We should insist that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission members only travel by aircraft that are operating beyond their design life. If that's good enough for nuclear plants, it must be good enough for something as simple as an airplane.

NorfolkAndWay May 16, 2012 at 10:06 pm

The allowable crack length in an aluminum aircraft skin is about 3 feet. Because the mechanism is known and the growth rate is predictable. That is also why most metallurgists drink heavily before they fly.

HistoriCat May 16, 2012 at 3:11 pm

FEMA officials say the revised standards introduce more variability into planning exercises and will help keep responders on their toes. The nuclear power industry has praised the changes on similar grounds.

"the [whatever] industry has praised the changes" is never a good sign.

chicken_thief May 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm

Those bullshit scare tactics don't worry me. I live in NJ. When, iffffff, nuclear disaster strikes we'll just roll a herd of cattle in all the toxic shit and super hero Chris "you gonna finish that twinkie?" Christie will eat it, thereby sparing the rest of Joizee-ites from any ill effects. Except those of having Christie as Gov, that is.

OneYieldRegular May 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm

My favorite moment of the Sarkozy/Hollande debate was Sarkozy patronizingly lecturing Hollande on how it was just impossible to dream of giving up on nuclear power – neglecting to mention that Germany, right next door. had done that very thing last year. Also, as part of Sarkozy's argument for not shutting down one problematic French nuke plant, he observed that there was no need since there was no danger of a tsunami in the French Alps.

Weenus299 May 16, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Two nuke facilities Kiowee-Toxaway, V.C. Summer, and a former nuke plant/storage facility, SRS, are within three hours drive of me. I'm pretty much a diseased sack of shit any way it goes. Also: I'm in the south, so paint chips, leaded water, poverty, dumbth-in-schools, shitty drivers on roads, pretty much means I'm a dead man anywhere I go.

NorfolkAndWay May 16, 2012 at 10:09 pm

You almost certainly mean Oconee Nuclear Station – Keowee-Toxaway is a hydroelectric project. Pretty up there, though. But you are right, the crappy drivers are the main threat, paint chips and leaded water somewhat less so.

Jus_Wonderin May 16, 2012 at 3:22 pm

We've had half a century or more to buildup our immunity to this nucleary stuff. What are our scientists doing with their time???????

Nostrildamus May 16, 2012 at 3:25 pm

"Gridlocked crumbums" sounds kinda sexy.

Antispandex May 16, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Seems OK to me. I don't live near one.

poorgradstudent May 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm

As long as they don't deregulate gamma radiation experiments.

randcoolcatdaddy May 16, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Well, this is certainly good news for someone's reelection campaign fund!

Naked_Bunny May 16, 2012 at 4:51 pm

They spent all their money on those rad giant-size computer screens.

Oops, I probably shouldn't mention "rad".

doloras May 16, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Alan Moore freakin' rules.

NorfolkAndWay May 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm

OK, now you done pissed off this gay Democrat nuclear plant engineer. Ah, where to start….Yes Josh (MY HERO!!), we drill more on external attacks now than on internal accidents, because probabalistic risk analysis has determined that they are more likely to occur. (Yes, there are jobs for math majors outside of insurance and baseball.) It really is more likely that some dingus will set up 200 yds from a plant with a shoulder rocket launcher, or load a bread truck full of fertilizer, than it is that an internal accident will occur. Why? Because there are a lot of dinguses out there."..the Feds have relaxed the safety regulations for nuclear power plants operating beyond their design life" – no idea where you're getting that. License extension from 40 yrs to 60 yrs is a reality, but we have hundreds of issues to address to justify it before it's granted. Fewer than 10 units (of 103) have reached 40 yrs so far, average age is ~30.

NorfolkAndWay May 16, 2012 at 10:00 pm

I have a dozen or so friends who are flight attendants, and all of them get more radiation dose in a year than I have received total in my nuclear career (24 yrs). They just don't realize it. Americans get 620 mR per year of natural radiation from the earth and sun (or 6.2 mSv for you metric weirdos), more if you live in PA mine country or in Denver. Average airline flight crew annual dose is 219 mR. Nuclear plant workers are allowed 5000 mR per year, maybe 5% approach 500 mR. Most get <10 mR. <BR>People are afraid of what they don't understand. I live 6.6 miles by road from a nuclear plant, probably 3 miles as the crow flies. I couldn't care less. Many of my neighbors apparently are unaware of its existence. And you know what – they need not be. I would be more concerned about what chemicals are in my processed meat meals (ugh!!) than that.

ttommyunger May 17, 2012 at 8:46 am

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

not that Radio May 16, 2012 at 9:59 pm

I can't give you a Tab unless you order something!

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