Gov't panel: Changes needed at US nuclear plants

FILE - Clouds spew from a cooling tower at PECO's nuclear generating station in Limerick, Pa., in this Feb. 14, 1997, file photo. (AP Photo/George Widman, file)

July 12, 2011 5:52:00 PM PDT
Calling the Japan nuclear disaster "unacceptable," an expert task force convened by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is saying that plants in the U.S. need better protections for rare, catastrophic events.

The series of recommendations, included in portions of a report obtained by The Associated Press, will redefine the level of protection at the nation's 104 nuclear power plants after the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

The panel will tell the commission that nuclear plants should immediately re-evaluate their earthquake and flood risk. They should also add equipment to address damage to multiple reactors and make sure there is electrical power and instruments to monitor and cool spent fuel pools.

The task force says that there is not an imminent risk to public health and the environment from nuclear power plants.