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The reluctance of US federal regulators to require operators of nuclear reactors to spend $5 billion to enhance the security of spent fuel rods stored underground threatens the country with a potential catastrophe, scientists warned on Friday.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission greatly underestimated the risk and potential contamination of a nuclear waste fire triggered by a quake or a planned attack, experts writing in the journal "Science" said.
In 2014, the NRC found the chance of a disaster caused by leaving radioactive waste in storage pools was too remote to warrant the cost of moving it to safer dry casks.
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