Re: The "more political thread" besides "Japan Earthquake: nuclear plants" scientific I agree. It is an example of someone who does not have direct experience with commercial power reactors. The first speaker was involved as a manager at TMI-2, then at OCRWM (DOE Spent Fuel Management system). In the US, most utilities opted for repairing cracked shrouds, as opposed to replacing them. That is the more typical approach. The Japanese tend to be a bit more conservative, and they elected to replace that shroud. Shroud replacement is pretty straight-forward, but it means that one has an irradiated shroud to bury somewhere, and when the reactor is shutdown and decommissioned, there will be a second shroud to bury somewhere. Remember, the speakers are speaking to an audience who probably have some background or interest in nuclear energy.