NRC Issues Annual Assessments for Nation’s Nuclear Plants

On March 3, 2017, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has issued annual letters to the nation’s 99 commercial nuclear power plants operating in 2016 regarding their performance throughout the year.  All but three were in the two highest performance categories.

Overview

Of the 96 highest-performing reactors, 83 fully met all safety and security performance objectives and were inspected by the NRC using the normal “baseline” inspection program.

Thirteen reactors were assessed as needing to resolve one or two items of low safety significance.  For this performance level, regulatory oversight includes additional inspection and follow- up of corrective actions.  Plants in this level include:  Davis Besse (Ohio); Diablo Canyon 2 (California); Dresden 3 (Illinois); Ginna (New York); Grand Gulf (Mississippi); Hope Creek 1 (New Jersey); Monticello (Minnesota); Oyster Creek (New Jersey); Salem 2 (New Jersey); South Texas Project 1 and 2 (Texas); and, Vogtle 1 and 2 (Georgia).  Oyster Creek, as well as Vogtle 1 and 2, have resolved their identified issues since the reporting period ended and have transitioned to the highest performing level.

There were no reactors in the third performance category with a degraded level of performance.

Three reactors are in the fourth performance category.  Arkansas Nuclear One 1 and 2 require increased oversight because of two safety findings of substantial significance.  Pilgrim (Massachusetts) is in the fourth performance category because of long-standing issues of low-to-moderate safety significance.  Reactors in this category receive additional inspections to confirm the performance issues are being addressed.

Later this spring and summer, the NRC will host a public meeting or other event for each plant to discuss the details of the annual assessment results.  Details for each event will be announced separately.  In addition to the annual assessment letters, plants also receive an NRC inspection plan for the coming year.

Background

“These assessment letters are the result of a holistic review of operating performance at each domestic power reactor facility,” said Bill Dean, Director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.  “In addition to inspecting U.S. nuclear plants to verify that they are operating safely, the NRC continuously assesses their performance.  The letters help our stakeholders understand our plant performance assessments and how we address any identified performance deficiencies.”

Information on the NRC’s oversight of commercial nuclear power plants is available through the NRC’s webpage on the Reactor Oversight Process.  The NRC routinely updates information on each plant’s current performance and posts the latest information as it becomes available to the action matrix summary.

For additional information, please contact David McIntyre of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.

Registration Opens for NRC’s 2017 Regulatory Information Conference

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has opened registration for its 29th annual Regulatory Information Conference (RIC), which is scheduled for March 14-16, 2017.  The conference will be held at the Bethesda North Marriott, which is located at 5701 Marinelli Road in Bethesda, Maryland.

Overview

Approximately 3,000 people are expected to attend the RIC including industry executives, representatives from state governments, non-governmental organizations, individual community members, and representatives from dozens of foreign countries.  The conference is an opportunity for attendees to discuss issues related to the safety and security of commercial nuclear facilities and current regulatory activities.

The RIC program will feature NRC Chair Stephen Burns as the keynote speaker.  Additional program highlights will include plenary sessions with Commissioner Kristine Svinicki and Commissioner Jeff Baran.

NRC’s Executive Director for Operations Victor McCree will deliver remarks.  Bill Dean, Director of NRR, will give welcome and introductory remarks.  This year’s special guest speaker is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations Robert Willard. Located in Atlanta, INPO is an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote the highest levels of safety and reliability—to promote excellence—in the operation of nuclear electric generating plants.

Other technical sessions will address significant domestic and international issues such as cybersecurity, subsequent license renewal, advanced and small modular reactors, spent fuel research activities, recent reactor material issues and the reactor oversight process.

Background

The NRC’s offices of Nuclear Reactor Regulation and Nuclear Regulatory Research jointly host the RIC.  The conference is open to the public.  Registration is required, but there is no registration fee.

The deadline for online registration is February 28, 2017.  Early registration is encouraged; however, onsite registration will also be available during the conference.

Additional RIC information, including a copy of the agenda and online registration links, is available on the NRC website at www.nrc.gov.  

NRC Issues Annual Assessments for Nation’s Nuclear Plants

On March 4, 2016, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that the agency has issued letters to the nation’s 99 commercial operating nuclear plants about their performance in 2015.  All but three plants were in the two highest performance categories.

“These assessment letters are the result of a holistic review of operating performance at each domestic power reactor facility,” said Bill Dean, Director of the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation.  “In addition to ensuring that the nation’s nuclear power plants are safe by inspecting them, the NRC continuously assesses performance.  The purpose of these assessment letters is to ensure that all of our stakeholders clearly understand the basis for our assessments of plant performance and the actions we are taking to address any identified performance deficiencies.”

Later this year, the NRC will host a public meeting or other event in the vicinity of each plant to discuss the details of the annual assessment results.  A separate announcement will be issued for each meeting.

Overview

Of the 96 highest-performing reactors, 85 fully met all safety and security performance objectives.  The NRC used the normal “baseline” inspection program to inspect these reactors.

Eleven reactors need to resolve one or two items of low safety significance.  For this performance level, regulatory oversight includes additional inspections and follow-up of corrective actions.  Plants in this level include:

  •   Clinton (Illinois);
  •   Davis Besse (Ohio);
  •   Dresden 2 (Illinois);
  •   Duane Arnold (Iowa);
  •   Indian Point 3 (New York);
  •   Millstone 3 (Connecticut);
  •   Prairie Island 2 (Minnesota);
  •   River Bend (Louisiana);
  •   Sequoyah 1 (Tennessee); and,
  •   Susquehanna 1 and 2 (Pennsylvania).

NRC reports that Duane Arnold, Millstone 3, and Susquehanna 1 and 2 have resolved their issues since the reporting period ended and have transitioned to the highest performing level.

There were no reactors in the third performance category with a degraded level of performance.

There were three reactors in the fourth performance category.  Arkansas Nuclear One 1 and 2 (Arkansas) require increased oversight because of two safety findings of substantial significance.  Pilgrim (Massachusetts) is in the fourth performance category because of long-standing issues of low- to-moderate safety significance.  NRC states that reactors in this category receive additional inspections and increased agency management attention to confirm performance issues are being addressed.

Background

The NRC routinely updates information on each plant’s current performance and posts the latest information as it becomes available to the action matrix summary. The annual assessment letters sent to each operating reactor are also available through the NRC’s webpage on the Reactor Oversight Process.

Annual construction oversight assessments for new reactors at the Vogtle and Summer sites are available on the NRC website.  The assessment letter for Watts Bar 2, which received its operating license in October 2015, is also available.

Every six months each plant receives either a mid-cycle or annual assessment letter along with an NRC inspection plan.

For additional information, please contact Eric Stahl of the NRC at (301) 415-8200.