On May 26, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a public meeting to discuss the agency’s annual review of safety performance of the Monticello nuclear power plant. Northern States Power Co.-Minnesota operates the plant. It is located in Monticello, Minnesota—approximately 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
The NRC’s performance action matrix reflects overall plant performance and agency response. There are five columns in the matrix with Column 1 requiring a baseline level of inspection. A move up to another column results in an increased level of NRC oversight and inspections. Performance indicators are statistical measurements of plant and equipment performance.
Overall, the Monticello facility operated safely last year. All performance indicators were “green” or low safety significance. A security finding was issued at the end of 2014. This finding, in addition to a previously identified yellow finding, would have resulted in a move to Column 4 and a significant increase in inspection. However, the NRC determined the plant’s performance did not warrant this move and issued a deviation memo to the plant that placed it in Column 2.
The deviation memo noted that human performance issues continued to occur and needed to be addressed. As a result, the plant committed to perform an independent safety culture assessment with a focus on human performance. The deviation will remain open until the NRC completes its assessment of the plant’s safety culture evaluation.
The plant moved to Column 1 by the end of 2015. While the details on the security finding are not publically available, the plant corrected the issue and the NRC conducted a follow-up inspection to verify the plant’s actions.
Monticello will also continue to receive the detailed routine inspections conducted at all nuclear power plants. Routine inspections are performed by two NRC Resident Inspectors assigned to the plant and by inspection specialists from the Region III Office in Lisle and the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Maryland.
For additional information, please contact Viktoria Mitlyng at (630) 829-9662 or at Prema Chandrathil at (630) 829-9663.