I’ve updated this post, replacing the last paragraph with the following:
UPDATE September 24th, 2011: The transcript of the September 8th ACRS meeting is now available. (http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1125/ML11256A117.pdf) The committee seemed to take things pretty seriously, but, reading it, it’s hard not to worry that there doesn’t seem to be adequate time to address the issues they consider in satisfying detail. Given that the companies/utilities who are asking for a license for a new nuclear plant based on the design certification of the AP1000 would be getting a license to operate the plant — and that no city, county, or state governing body or legislature would be able to stop the owner of the plant from operating it even if all the citizens served by it didn’t want it to – this is deeply unsatisfying. We’re talking about the adequacy of using containment cooling as an ultimate heat sink — something that has not and is not being done on any operating PWR in the entire world — and we’re talking about using a means of determining the adequacy of such an ultimate heat sink based on analyses that contain a lot of uncertainty.