As we have discussed here before, The GE Mark 1 BWR (Boiling Water Reactor) has its root in the 1950,s.  Back then the engineers could not have imagined supporting this design in the year 2011.  It is sort of like trying to get a 1955 Chevy to meet all of todays safety and crash standards.  In fact GE has done a remarkable job.  It is also a testament to the sheer robustness of the design.

The nuclear energy field is a unique one.  Lead times and long range plans are measured in decades not minutes or days.  In fact this crisis comes at a critical time.  Their ESBR (Economic Simplified Boiling Water Reactor) design is just one step away from final NCR approval.  The ESBWR has passive safety features which would have helped avoid the crisis that is happening in Japan.  GE engineers designed the new reactor to deal with loss of power and cooling issues.  We have to support newer safer designs.  Both domestically and abroad.