Official backs studying quake risks at nuke plants

Associated Press Modified: November 8, 2012 at 6:16 pm •  Published: November 8, 2012

Nuclear plants in the eastern and central United States will have until the end of 2013 to finish the re-evaluation, she said. New evaluations for nuclear plants on the West Coast will take until 2015 to complete since they face more varied geologic conditions.

"If a plant is found to be deficient then, yes, it will have to get up to its new design basis," Macfarlane said.

President Barack Obama appointed Macfarlane, a geologist and expert on nuclear waste, to the post in May after former NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko announced his resignation. Jaczko pushed for safety reforms but was criticized for a style that his fellow commissioners and agency employees described as bullying. Macfarlane traveled to Atlanta this week to address top nuclear executives gathered for a conference of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations.

Her term runs through 2013. Macfarlane had said she planned to seek re-appointment if Obama won the presidential election.

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