On March 5, 2018, 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 2017 regarding their operational performance throughout the year. All but three plants were in the two highest performance categories.
Of the 96 highest-performing reactors, 83 met all safety and security performance objectives and were inspected by the NRC using the standard “baseline” inspection program.
The NRC determined that 13 reactors needed resolution of 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: Browns Ferry 1, 2 and 3 (Alabama); Catawba 2 (South Carolina); Clinton (Illinois); Columbia (Washington); Diablo Canyon 2 (California); Fermi 2 (Michigan); Grand Gulf (Mississippi); Perry (Ohio); Sequoyah 1 and 2 (Tennessee); and, Wolf Creek (Kansas). Diablo Canyon 2 and Fermi 2 have resolved their findings 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. The NRC noted that there were three reactors 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. Additional inspections will be conducted to confirm that the performance issues are being addressed.
Later this spring and summer, the NRC will host a public meeting or other event near each plant to discuss the details of the annual assessments. A separate announcement will be issued for each public assessment meeting. In addition to the annual assessment letters, plants also receive an NRC inspection plan for the coming year.
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. To see the 2017 assessment letters, click on “2017q4” for each plant. Annual construction oversight assessments for new reactors at the Vogtle Unit 3 and 4 sites are also on the NRC website.
For additional information, please contact the NRC’s Office of Public Affairs at (301) 415-8200.