A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, based on Nuclear Regulatory Commission data, claimed that "many of these significant events occurred because reactor owners, and often the NRC, tolerated known safety problems."
In the inspection of Indian Point about 25 miles from New York City, NRC auditors found that "the liner of a refueling cavity at Unit 2 has been leaking since at least 1993."
The USC report charged that "By allowing this reactor to continue operating with equipment that cannot perform its only safety function, the NRC is putting people living around Indian Point at elevated and undue risk."
David Lochbaum, director of UCS's Nuclear Safety Program, said that "the chances of a disaster at a nuclear plant are low" but "the more owners sweep safety problems under the rug and the longer safety problems remain uncorrected, the higher the risk climbs."
Edwin Lyman, a physicist in the UCS Global Security Program, also questioned the U.S. action in advising Americans to clear out for a 50-mile radius around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.
Lyman said that the standard in the U.S. set by the NRC and the Environmental Protection Agency only called for a 10-mile evacuation radius around a stricken plant.
"The level of complacency here at home is appalling," Lyman said. "They're gonna have to get their act together."