NRC chair, Rep. Upton tour Palisades, Cook nuclear plants

BRIDGMAN, Mich. (WZZM) -- There is a new way of looking at nuclear safety after the Fukishima disaster, and both the Cook nuclear power plant here and Palisades in Covert are making improvements because of it.

Friday morning, Congressman Fred Upton and NRC chair Allison MacFarlane went for an inside look at the Palisades power plant and then to the Cook power plant.

Both power plants are now required to re-evalute how they operate and also must determine what could make them safer in case of a natural disaster.

As you may know, the Palisades nuclear power plant has a history of problems and was considered one of the four worst-performing plants in the country.

Earlier this year, about 70 gallons of oil spilled from the facility during a leak, and last year a leak there let 79 gallons of radioactive water into Lake Michigan.

Friday, the NRC chair told us she's aware of all the past issues at the Palisades plant, but says it has made improvements and is now performing "adequately."

"When they were having problems a few years ago, we would do additional inspections when issues occur at plants. And as things get set right, we don't have to do those additional inspections anymore, but we do have two resident inspectors at the Palisades facility and two resident inspectors at the Cook facility."

Both plants hold quarterly emergency drills in case anything goes wrong. Some of the upgrades we've been talking about will take place over the next several months.


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