LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) - An investigation by The Associated Press finds that to keep the nation's aging nuclear power plants operating within safety standards, federal regulators have softened the rules.
Records and interviews show repeated instances where regulators decided that safety margins could be eased without peril.
Such accommodations have raised fears that safety is being undermined and the reactors are inching closer to an accident that could harm the public and jeopardize the future of nuclear power in the United States.
For example, when valves leaked, more leakage was allowed. When rampant cracking caused radioactive leaks from steam generator tubing, an easier test of the tubes was devised./ppThe AP investigation uncovered thousands of other problems linked to aging.