Thursday, February 22, 2018

Civil Charges for Corporate Malfeasance Represent Regulatory Capture

Citing safety and compliance violations at Georgia's Plant Vogtle, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is "proposing" a $145,000 civil penalty:
Russ Bynum (2018, Feb 21) Agency Seeks Fine for Violations at Georgia Nuclear Plant (2018, Feb 21). US News and World Report. Available,

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said investigators found at least 13 system operators at the plant who on multiple occasions neglected to perform required rounds, then made false log entries saying the checks were completed. The civil penalty was filed against Southern Nuclear Co., a subsidiary of the electrical utility Southern Company.

The NRC said in a letter to the company that workers are required to perform rounds to identify and correct "degraded, abnormal, or undesirable" conditions at the nuclear plant. "In this case, however, this vital function was intentionally precluded by the deliberate misconduct," the NRC's letter stated.
In my book, Crisis Communication, Liberal Democracy and Ecological Sustainability (publisher description here), I explain how small civil, rather than criminal, penalties contribute to a culture of corporate malfeasance.

Additionally, the levying of small civil penalties, rather than criminal charges, for misconduct that jeopardizes the lives and livelihoods of entire communities constitutes regulatory capture.

My crisis book's first chapter describes how corporate malfeasance and regulatory capture produce the conditions of possibility for catastrophic accidents, such as the 2008 financial crisis, the 2010 BP oil spill, and the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

These three catastrophic accidents may appear unrelated, but when one traces the money chains one discerns closely-coupled underlying ownership structures.

Additionally, all 3 accidents are case examples of global industries historically inclined towards prioritization of short-term extraction, with well-documented disregarded for catastrophic risks, as I describe in my book.

The energy and financial complexes pursue logics of dispossession that will lead us rapidly to societal collapse in the manner described by Jared Diamond, as a form of collapse deriving in large part from centralized ownership and resource exhaustion.

Good governance of catastrophic risks engineered into our modern infrastructures requires a rapid shift to sustainable, alternative financing and energy production/ownership.  Further, governments must be perceived as just and equitable. We are a long way away from where we need to be.

The NRC could help move us in the right direction if it rejected nuclear partisanship and prioritized public safety in a "threat-environment" characterized by rising cybersecurity threats, severe weather, and aging nuclear infrastructures.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

More Risks of Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East

I submit without comment:

Michael R. Gordon, Timothy Puko, Summer Said (2018, February 20). U.S. Pursues Saudi Nuclear Deal, Despite Proliferation Risk. The Wall Street Journal,

Lawmakers are likely to bristle at kingdom’s refusal to accept enrichment and reprocessing curbs

Monday, February 19, 2018

New Construction at Fukushima Daiichi

There is a new structure visible on the TEPCO 4 webcam:

Compare with this screenshot taken Feb 16, 2018

The new construction looks cage-like. I wonder what it is for?

Also see the brief video captured by Horse at Caferadlab of Fukushima. It is quite interesting: