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Date: Thu, 08 Jul 1999 17:43:24 -0400
From: Mary Olson <>
Organization: NIRS

Greetings! The following is a NIRS Press release and AP story on status of US nuclear reactors and the Y2K problem. Japanese activists have launched an international initiative called Y2K WASH Campaign -- or Y2K World Atomic Safety Holiday -- a call for all nuclear facilities to be off-line for New Years, be subject to strict criteria of Y2K compliance, given robust back-up power systems and also the de-alerting of nuclear weapons.

If you want more information or are ready to adopt this campaign, contact Mary Olson at NIRS (202)328-0002 or Yumi Kukuchi at

P.S. NIRS lacks a press fax capability at the moment, so please do release this to your local press...they won't see it any other way!

1424 16th Street NW, #404, Washington, DC 20036
202.328.0002; fax: 202.462.2183;;

Contact: Mary Olson or Paul Gunter at 202/328-0002
July 8, 1999


The Nuclear Information and Resource Service gave the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Y2K program failing grades today, based on the agency's admission that 35 nuclear reactors still haven't resolved their problems with the well-known computer bug.

NIRS noted that several of these reactors aren't even scheduled to complete their fixes until November 1999 -- or even later -- which leaves virtually no time for testing and further adjustment to their repairs.

"The NRC's program is unacceptable," said NIRS' executive director Michael Mariotte. "It's what we feared all along -- this agency is waiting until the last minute and then just hoping that everything will work out ok. But with nuclear reactors, there is no margin for error. Simply hoping for the best is a sure indication that the worst can happen."

According to the NRC, which released preliminary information about the status of nuclear reactors and the Y2K issue yesterday, 35 reactors are not yet "Y2K ready," although all were supposed to be ready by July 1, 1999. Moreover, as noted yesterday by Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), the concept of Y2K ready does not mean "Y2K compliant." In fact, for the nuclear industry, "Y2K ready" can mean simply turning back the clock to 1972 and hoping everything works properly.

"Obviously, the nuclear utilities still have an enormous amount of work to do to repair their computer systems for the next century," said Mary Olson, NIRS' Y2K specialist. "The NRC is trying to put the best spin possible on this problem, but the fact is some utilities just aren't going to be ready in time. Experts agree that no nuclear power will be needed in the U .S. on January 1, 2000 -- there will be plenty of electrical generation available. For that reason, we join with our colleagues across the globe in calling for a nuclear moratorium on January 1 -- a shutdown of all nuclear facilities across the world. Who knows, we may find we can live without them permanently?"

Among the U.S. reactors that do not even intend to meet minimal Y2K issues until after November 1, 1999 are: Brunswick-1 (NC, 11/30/99); Comanche Peak-1 & 2 (TX, 11/30/99); Cook-1 & 2 (12/15/99); Farley-2 (Al, 12/16/99); Salem-1 (NJ, 11/6/99). Many others have a Y2K-ready date of the end of October 1999.

In December 1998, NIRS submitted three petitions for rulemaking to the NRC. One would require any utility not fully Y2K-compliant by December 1, 1999 to be closed until it can prove it is Y2K-compliant. Thus far, the NRC has not indicated that any reactor will be Y2K-compliant by December 1, 1999.

NIRS is also actively working to provide assistance to Eastern-bloc utilities that suffer from Y2K problems with their reactors and electrical grids.

"More U.S. assistance is necessary for many Eastern countries to ensure that January 1, 2000 is not a time of meltdown, but of celebration," said Olson. "The U.S. Congress needs to recognize that several Eastern countries need help in basic Y2K work and in enabling the implementation of meaningful contingency plans. Such assistance is of little cost to the U.S., but will be of great benefit if meltdowns and electrical grid disruptions can be avoided."

List of Nuclear Plants Not Y2K Ready
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Commercial nuclear power plants that have actions remaining to be completed to be fully Y2K ready and estimated dates of completion, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

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