Federal agencies that regulate nuclear power stations are rushing to address a potential threat from an electromagnetic pulse attack on the U.S. electric grid: nuclear power plant meltdowns.
The good news is that the issue and proposed fix are easy. The bad news is that there is growing concern that an EMP attack, either from a North Korean nuclear bomb or a solar storm, will occur first.
In focus are cooling pools used to store spent, but still radioactive, fuel rods used to make power. Cold water must continuously flush through or the rods can catch fire and explode, spewing killer radioactive smoke for miles.
Federal agencies believe an EMP attack would knock the power grid out for months. Most nuclear plants use diesel-powered generators for backup power to the water pumps and only store up to 17 days of fuel.
Enter members of former President Reagan’s “Star Wars” team with the Foundation for Resilient Societies. They saw the problem at Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and recommended a switch from diesel to long-lasting solar to power the generators.
“That’s when the alarm bells went off,” Thomas S. Popik, president of Resilient Societies told the Washington Examiner. Similar concerns were raised when New England’s Pilgrim nuclear facility was forced to shut during a blizzard.
As a result, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is considering the group’s fix, a rare embrace of an outside proposal. “It’s a national issue,” said proponent and retired Federal Aviation Administration investigator Brian Sullivan. “The NRC needs to change its dangerous course.”email@example.com.