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UTILITIES:

Calif. regulators approve natural gas to replace nuclear plant

New natural gas plants can be built to replace the power lost with the closure of the San Onofre nuclear power plant in Southern California, under a decision today by the state's utility regulator. The California Public Utilities Commission on a 5-0 vote approved a blueprint outlining how utilities San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison Co. can add new electricity sources.

NRC:

Chief defends agency amid charges it hid concerns during Japan crisis

The chairwoman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission today defended the agency's Office of Public Affairs after NBC News ran a report accusing the division of hiding concerns following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear meltdown in Japan.

"I wasn't around at that time, and I don't have information about it; all I know is that our OPA has been very responsible and responsive to events that have occurred and they have my full trust," Allison Macfarlane told reporters at a nuclear conference in Rockville, Md.

FUKUSHIMA ANNIVERSARY:

Safety culture 'trickling' into Japan 3 years after disaster

There's a culture shift slowly taking place in Japan's nuclear industry three years after a powerful earthquake and tsunami slammed the country's northeastern coast and triggered a nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi complex.

Workers are finding that their views matter -- a big change in the top-down culture.

"You're seeing elements of that safety culture trickle in," Dale Klein, a former head of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said in an interview last week. "I'd like to see it rush in, but it's trickling in. The cleanup is going to occur for a long, long time."

Klein, who was NRC's chairman from 2006 to 2009, is leading a committee of international nuclear experts helping retool the safety culture at Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that operates the Fukushima plant.

TEPCO has repeatedly come under fire for its response to the disaster. One foundation-sponsored report found safety regulation and accident planning were compromised by a disregard for the danger of an extreme tsunami because industry and regulators feared that focusing on risks would alarm the public and lead to demands for additional safety measures.

And a parliamentary inquiry accused the company of "collusion" with regulators and avoiding measures that might have averted the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima.

But Klein, who is visiting Japan this week to tour the Fukushima site and speak publicly on safety issues, said he's seeing signs that the utility's upper management is listening to workers, a change from the traditional top-down approach that fed into confusion after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami struck.

Nuclear Nation

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About this report

The devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan has spawned a major nuclear disaster. E&E examines the implications for energy, the environment, security and public health.

Nuclear Nation

Scores of nuclear power reactors dot the United States. There are 103 reactors that are licensed to operate and 14 undergoing decommissioning. Many others are in planning stages; the four furthest along in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing process are shown on this map. Click on a site icon for more details on the U.S. NRC website.

Zion 1, Illinois Zion 2, Illinois Humboldt Bay, California Vallecitos Boiling Water Reactor, California San Onofre 1, California LaCrosse Boiling Water Reactor, Wisconsin Dresden 1, Illinois Peach Bottom 1, Pennsylvania Three Mile Island 2, Pennsylvania Nuclear Ship Savannah, Maryland Fermi 1, Michigan Indian Point 1, New York Millstone 1, Connecticut Summer 3, South Carolina Summer 2, South Carolina Vogtle 4, Georgia Vogtle 3, Georgia McGuire 2, North Carolina McGuire 1, North Carolina North Anna 2, Virginia North Anna 1, Virginia Surry 2, Virginia Surry 1, Virginia Brunswick 2, North Carolina Brunswick 1, North Carolina Catawba 2, South Carolina Catawba 1, South Carolina Vogtle 2, Georgia Vogtle 1, Georgia Hatch 2, Georgia Hatch 1, Georgia Saint Lucie 2, Florida Harris 1, North Carolina Watts Bar 1, Tennessee Fort Calhoun, Nebraska Cooper, Nebraska Pilgrim 1, Massachusetts Seabrook 1, New Hampshire Vermont Yankee, Vermont FitzPatrick, New York Ginna, New York Perry 1, Ohio Davis-Besse, Ohio Monticello, Minnesota Duane Arnold, Iowa Fermi 2, Ohio Palisades, Michigan Kewaunee, Wisconsin Clinton, Illinois Callaway, Missouri Columbia Generating Station, Washington Wolf Creek, Kansas River Bend 1, Louisiana Waterford 3, Louisiana Robinson 2, South Carolina Summer, South Carolina Grand Gulf 1, Mississippi Crystal River 3, Florida Saint Lucie 1, Florida Oconee 2, South Carolina Oconee 3, South Carolina Oconee 1, South Carolina Palo Verde 2, Arizona Palo Verde 3, Arizona Palo Verde 1, Arizona Browns Ferry 2, Alabama Browns Ferry 3, Alabama Browns Ferry 1, Alabama Sequoyah 2, Tennessee Sequoyah 1, Tennessee Quad Cities 2, Illinois Quad Cities 1, Illinois Peach Bottom 3, Pennsylvania Three Mile Island 1, Pennsylvania Peach Bottom 2, Pennysylvania Nine Mile Point 2, New York Nine Mile Point 1, New York Calvert Cliffs 2, Maryland Calvert Cliffs 1, Maryland Salem 2, New Jersey Hope Creek 1, New Jersey Oyster Creek, New Jersey Salem 1, New Jersey Millstone 3, Connecticut Millstone 2, Connecticut Indian Point 3, New York Indian Point 2, New York Susquehanna 1, Pennsylvania Susquehanna 1, Pennsylvania Limerick 2, Pennsylvania Limerick 1, Pennsylvania Beaver Valley 2, Pennsylvania Beaver Valley 1, Pennsylvania Dresden 3, Illinois Dresden 2, Illinois La Salle 2, Illinois La Salle 1, Illinois Braidwood 2, Illinois Braidwood 1, Illinois D.C. Cook 2, Michigan D.C. Cook 1, Michigan Byron 2, Illinois Byron 1, Illinois Point Beach 2, Wisconsin Point Beach 1, Wisconsin Prarie Island 2, Minnesota Prarie Island 1, Minnesota Arkansas Nuclear 2, Arkansas Arkansas Nuclear 1, Arkansas South Texas 2, Texas South Texas 1, Texas Comanche Peak 2, Texas Comanche Peak 1, Texas Diablo Canyon 2, California Diablo Canyon 1, California San Onofre 3, California San Onofre 2, California Farley 2, Alabam51 Farley 1, Alabama Turkey Point 4, Florida Turkey Point 3, Florida

Proposed and expected to proceed to final NRC licensing

Operating

Japanese Response

Nuclear Policy

Science

Business

U.S. Reactors

Public Response