Anonymous insider twice alleges criminal misconduct in NRC approval of Westinghouse’s new reactor design and says safety systems would be destroyed by airliner impact
Statement by Executive Director Jim Warren:
DURHAM, NC – Twice since January, NC WARN has received anonymous letters containing stinging allegations regarding the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s integrity and its design certification process for the Westinghouse AP1000 reactor. In both instances, we forwarded the information to NRC Inspector General Hubert Bell, although the anonymous source had alerted both Bell and NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko in November.
We assume the information was sent to NC WARN attorney John Runkle because, as part of the AP1000 Oversight Group, we have raised numerous criticisms about the AP1000 design, based in part on expert reports by engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates. Neither Bell nor Jaczko have confirmed receipt of the information, nor whether they are investigating the charges. Therefore, we decided to make the letters and memo public (below), while emphasizing that NC WARN cannot verify or refute the whistleblower’s charges, which include:
— In anticipation of monetary rewards and promotions, named NRC officials rigged the design approval process to confuse Congress and the NRC’s own science advisors, thus speeding approval due to industry pressure.
— Design shortcomings that were pushed through without full review or while ignoring industry standards involve passive emergency cooling, the shield building, and the containment structure.
— “The AP1000 design will not survive an airplane attack similar to WTC because scenarios that will bring down the shield wall and the containment all together have not been considered and not analyzed using computer codes that have been validated by our own US test data.”
It is evident that the person has inside knowledge of NRC-industry machinations and has taken personal risk to air the concerns, and the allegations coincide with thorny design problems made public in recent months. Last Friday, Chairman Jaczko conceded that design problems persist, and as noted by the New York Times, that the NRC is now “asking Westinghouse not only to fix its calculations but also to explain why it submitted flawed information in the first place” involving the all-important reactor shield building.
The whistleblower implored us to intervene on behalf of public safety, and said the NRC will not correct design “loopholes” unless ordered to do so by President Obama.
See the FIRST LETTER
See the SECOND LETTER