The US nuclear industry has developed a three-phased approach to mitigating beyond-design-basis events.
More on-site portable equipment has been acquired to help ensure that every U.S. nuclear energy facility can respond safely to extreme events, no matter what the cause. The equipment ranges from diesel-driven pumps and electric generators to ventilation fans, hoses, fittings, cables and satellite communications gear. It also includes support materials for emergency responders. There is equipment sharing agreements between plants.
There is more equipment at centralized regional rapid response centers.
Nextbigfuture thinks that having inflatable containment structures that could be airlifted from the regional centers would be useful for situations like Fukushima where there was an ongoing radiation event. This would be like the pipe covers that have been created for any future deep water oil spill. Fukushima went on for months leaking radioactive material from the cooling ponds and the damaged reactor. Being able to created a larger cover over a breached containment building would localize the radiation problem. A localized problem then makes it more like any other industrial accident where the site ends up being a writeoff but it does not impact cities and people around it.
Companies would use permanently installed equipment as an initial means of responding to a serious event.
The phase two concept drove the acquisition and storage of portable equipment at each nuclear plant site to enhance the station's coping strategies. Finally, phase three drove the enhancement of existing inter-utility support agreements and the development of independent, national response centers that house portable safety equipment that can be delivered to any nuclear plant site in America within 24 hours.
The nuclear industry jointly established an implementation plan for phase three. Led by the Institute for Nuclear Power Operations, inter-utility memorandums of understanding were updated to reflect the need to maintain an inventory of on-site, portable equipment that could be moved from site to site as required. The memorandums also re-enforced personnel support among utilities in need of specific expertise.
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