US nuclear power plants contain dangerous counterfeit parts, report finds
At least some nuclear power plants in the US contain counterfeit parts that could pose significant risks, an investigation by the inspector general’s office of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has found. Those parts “present nuclear safety and security concerns that could have serious consequences,” says the resulting report published on February 9th.
While concerns about safety and nuclear waste have vexed the nuclear power industry for decades, the new findings come amidst growing enthusiasm for nuclear energy as a carbon-free power source that can help nations meet their climate goals.
The investigation was conducted after unnamed individuals alleged that “most, if not all,” nuclear plants in the US have fake or faulty parts. The inspector general’s office uncovered problems with counterfeit parts at a few different plants as part of its investigation. The report also says that the DOE had separately flagged 100 “incidents” involving counterfeit parts just last year. It’s a problem that the US will have to crack down on if it moves forward with plans to include nuclear power in its transition to clean energy. Without greater oversight at the NRC, the report warns, the risk of counterfeit parts going unnoticed in the nation’s nuclear power plants could rise.