[T]he type of containment vessel and pressure suppression system used in the failing reactors at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant — and in 23 American reactors at 16 plants — is physically less robust [than most reactors in the world], and it has long been thought to be more susceptible to failure in an emergency than competing designs.
G.E. began making the Mark 1 boiling water reactors in the 1960s, marketing them as cheaper and easier to build — in part because they used a comparatively smaller and less expensive containment structure.
American regulators began identifying weaknesses very early on.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
G.E. Brings Troubling Things To Light
Tom Zeller Jr., writing in the New York Times: