On October 27, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has published its Seventh National Report for the Convention on Nuclear Safety. The report describes the U.S. government’s actions under the convention to achieve and maintain a high level of safety for its nuclear power plants.
The Convention on Nuclear Safety entered into force in 1996 and was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1999. It establishes legally binding obligations for signatory states regarding national regulation and safety at commercial nuclear power facilities.
The Seventh National Report for the Convention on Nuclear Safety addresses issues identified through the peer review conducted during the sixth review meeting in 2014, as well as challenges and issues that have arisen since that time. The sixth review meeting identified the following six U.S. challenges:
- Fukushima-related activities;
- transition to risk-informed fire protection regulations;
- ensuring continuity during the oversight transition from plant construction to operation;
- nuclear industry strategy;
- report on status of periodic safety reviews pilot program; and,
- status of NRC’s work on subsequent license renewal for plant operation beyond 60 years.
Countries that are parties to the convention meet every three years to discuss their reports. The NRC has submitted the Seventh National Report for the Convention on Nuclear Safety for peer review by other countries.
NRC officials will discuss the report and respond to peer review questions at the seventh review meeting of the Convention on Nuclear Safety at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria, in March 2017.
The Seventh National Report for the Convention on Nuclear Safety demonstrates how the United States implements a high level of nuclear safety by enhancing national measures and international cooperation, and by meeting the obligations of all the articles established by the convention.
Some of the additional challenges discussed in the new report include:
- digital instrumentation and control systems;
- open-phase conditions in electric power systems;
- spent fuel pool neutron-absorbing materials; and,
- plant transition from operation to decommissioning status.
The report includes a section developed by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) describing the U.S. industry’s work to ensure safety. INPO officials will also be part of the U.S. delegation to the convention review meeting.
For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.