The regulatory impact of Japan’s Fukushima crisis extends far past the island nation’s shores, says a U.S. report issued on the disaster’s third anniversary.
More than a dozen other countries enacted safety reforms at nonmilitary atomic sites following the severe damage inflicted on Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant by the earthquake and tsunami of Mar. 11, 2011, according to the report by the Government Accountability Office. The failure of auxiliary power systems at the facility led to cooling-system failures and meltdowns in three of its six reactors, allowing radioactive material to escape into the air and neighboring sea.
Governments with established nuclear-energy programs have responded in part by conducting safety checks, including comprehensive “stress tests” that can scrutinize a facility’s ability to withstand an extremist assault, the assessment indicates.
The report’s authors said nuclear-safety planners are now “considering previously unimagined accident scenarios,” including disasters “that could involve multiple reactors at a single power plant.”
“In addition, new requirements for emergency equipment, such as backup electric generators, in case of the loss of off-site power, as occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, are an area of focus among the regulatory bodies in GAO’s review,” the auditors wrote.
The investigators said some areas are still in need of improvement, including an international “peer-review” framework to help scrutinize how well various states are complying with International Atomic Energy Agency safety guidelines. That system, auditors wrote, lacks a mechanism for following up on whether vetted governments follow through on recommendations.
GAO officials said the U.S. State Department and Nuclear Regulatory Commission should “encourage” the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency “to systematically track the status of recommendations made by IAEA peer review missions.”
The congressional report examined nuclear-policy responses to the Fukushima disaster in 16 countries, and identified new reforms in all of them: Argentina, Armenia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.
What We're Following See More »
"Four Iranian ships made reckless maneuvers close to a U.S. warship this week, the Pentagon said Thursday, in an incident that officials said could have led to dangerous escalation." The four Iranian vessels engaged in a "high-speed intercept" of a U.S. destroyer in the Strait of Hormuz. A Navy spokesman said the Iranina actions "created a dangerous, harassing situation that could have led to further escalation including additional defensive measures" by the destroyer.
Amid public outcry and the threat of investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mylan has agreed to effectively drop the price of EpiPens. "The company, which did not lower the drug's list price, said it would reduce the patient cost of EpiPen through the use of a savings card, which will cover up to $300 of EpiPen 2-Pak."
Nigel Farage, who led the Brexit effort in the United Kingdom, appeared at a Trump rally in Mississippi yesterday. Farage told the 15,000-strong crowd: "Remember, anything is possible if enough decent people are prepared to stand up against the establishment."
Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”
Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.