NEW YORK The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission told the agency's staff to begin immediately implementing seven safety recommendations from the NRC's Near-Term Task Force on lessons learned from the reactor accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
The seven recommendations are among 12 safety recommendations presented by the Task Force to the Commission in July, the NRC said in a release Thursday.
"My colleagues and I expect that within five years, and significantly sooner in some cases, the staff will have enhanced our already robust safety standards by carrying out these recommendations," NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko said in a statement.
The NRC staff reviewed the Task Force's July 12 report and provided a proposal to the Commission that selected the seven recommendations as most appropriate for immediate action, the NRC said.
The recommendations cover issues including the loss of all alternating current (AC) electrical power at a reactor, known in the industry as a "station blackout", reviews of seismic and flooding hazards, emergency equipment and plant staff training.
In March, a major earthquake and tsunami left the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan without power. Without power, operators were unable to cool the fuel in the reactors, resulting in fuel meltdowns and the release of radioactive materials into the environment.
The Commission set a goal of completing the rulemaking process for a new station blackout rule by April 2014.
"The station blackout rulemaking is an achievable goal," said Chairman Jaczko. "Addressing station blackout is a high priority, and I will do my best to lead the staff in accomplishing this effort."
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino in New York)