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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Reactor Rule Made With 9/11 in Mind

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Tuesday required makers of new nuclear power plants to design the reactors so they can withstand the impact from a commercial jetliner.

The commission's approval of the regulation concludes more than two years of deliberations over the potential threat of a large aircraft crashing into a nuclear power plant, an issue that gained attention after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The rule approved by the NRC, in a 4 to 0 vote, requires that the design of new power plants ensures that the reactor containment would remain intact, cooling systems would continue to operate and spent fuel pools would be protected in the event of an aircraft crash.

The regulation will be incorporated in the certification of three new reactor designs before the commission. While no new reactor has been built for years, the NRC has received 17 applications for 26 reactors, with additional ones expected in the months ahead.

The newly approved regulation does not apply to the 104 commercial reactors now operating.

NTSB Looks at Pilot

CLARENCE, N.Y. -- The man at the controls of a plane that pitched like a kite before crashing into a house last week had spent only 110 hours flying that model, and investigators said that they would look into the quality and quantity of his training. With no obvious answer to the crash, the National Transportation Safety Board was preparing for a year-long study of everything related to the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 and its cockpit crew to find out what combination of factors led to the disaster.

-- From News Services

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