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Union of Concerned Scientists

It is imperative that the NRC do a better job of gauging the health of QA programs at nuclear power plants—not just to reduce or eliminate year-plus reactor outages that reduce electricity reliability and hurt consumers and stockholders financially, but to provide a stronger defense against even worse outcomes. Though the NRC grants operating licenses after determining that reactors conform with all applicable regulations, conformance does not guarantee zero risk. Conformance only reduces the risk to a level deemed acceptable.

The volume of non-conformance associated with year-plus reactor outages suggests that the risk represented by these reactors was unaccept- ably higher than necessary. The more often reac- tors walk a nuclear tightrope with large holes in the safety nets below, the more likely it becomes that one will eventually plunge into disaster.

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