The continuing nuclear power plant catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan is predicted to \u201clikely change the way we do business and the way the industry does business in the country,\u201d said Nuclear Regulatory Commission chair Greg Jaczko May 12. The commission started a three-month review of national nuclear oversight March 23. This week\u2019s meeting was held to apprise regulators of the progress. Uncharacteristically, the commission probed staff\u2019s methodology and suggested that the status quo doesn\u2019t go far enough. The strength of spent fuel pools with highly radioactive waste against natural or manmade disasters was one of the concerns. \u201cIf I wanted to play devil\u2019s advocate--why don\u2019t we shut them down until we know\u201d nuclear plants\u2019 vulnerabilities? asked commissioner George Apostolakis. That would have \u201clarge policy implications,\u201d replied Bill Borchardt, NRC executive director for operations. Federal regulators have what they call a \u201cdesign basis\u201d that sets a baseline for the structural integrity of nuclear power plants--like California\u2019s operating reactors, San Onofre and Diablo Canyon. The existing safety design baseline, which is confidential, has been a tenet of regulation for decades. Whether the design basis in general is good enough was called into question. \u201cWe need a graceful transition from design basis to beyond design basis,\u201d said Jaczko. He noted the need for beginning a plan to strengthen the nation\u2019s nuclear power plants against unplanned natural and manmade events. Commissioners noted that nuclear plant owners have a voluntary commitment to hardening their facilities against unplanned events. That volunteerism does not extend to the high-level waste in the spent fuel pools. \u201cIt\u2019s legal grounds, rather than what nature\u2019s going to do\u201d said Apostolakis. Jaczko questioned whether the industry\u2019s volunteer guidelines are \u201chindering\u201d regulators\u2019 ability to impose requirements for stronger nuclear plants. He noted the issue is largely one of financial liability. Is it keeping us \u201cfrom monetizing the economic clean up of an accident?\u201d Jaczko asked, rhetorically. The cost of clean up would be \u201ca big discussion,\u201d said NRC director, national materials program, Charlie Miller. He invoked \u201cfinancial aspects\u201d of a disaster, and that under the Price-Anderson Act taxpayers are largely on the hook for insuring against the economic consequences of an accident. Despite the concerns, the NRC is proceeding with relicensing old nuclear plants. \u201cAt this time the commission has not determined that there is a need to adjust the schedule or otherwise modify our approach for reviewing license renewal,\u201d Jaczko stated May 11.