Like absentminded professors, nuclear plants misplace their waste

A comprehensive new report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office reveals pervasive problems in the nuclear industry, abetted by lax federal regulation. You know all that waste nuclear plants produce, the stuff that stays radioactive for a kajillion years? Yeah, well, seems they keep losing track of it. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not issued clear guidelines for tracking waste, said the report, and the plants themselves have a variety of not-particularly-reliable methods. In many cases, the NRC was unable to confirm that spent fuel rods were where the plants said they were, and at least three plants may have lost some rods entirely. However, says NRC spokesflack Beth Hayden, just because radioactive waste is lying around unaccounted for is no reason to go rushing about fixing things: “When we are dealing with nuclear safety and security, we need to move in a very careful and deliberate way.”