Remarks Of NRC Chairman Jaczko At Program Briefing From NRC Office Of Nuclear Reactor Regulation

 Even as the agency considers new licensing applications, the NRC must stay focused on its core mission of ensuring the safety and security of existing reactors

 - Edited by April Murelio -

Good morning. The Commission meets today to receive its annual program briefing from the Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation (NRR). In their presentations today, the staff will review the status of NRR’s licensing process, the Reactor Oversight program, its rulemaking, its incident response efforts and a large number of more specific issues under the office’s supervision.

Our full agenda this morning reflects the myriad ways in which the NRR staff contributes to the safety and security of the reactor fleet. NRR’s responsibilities have both short-term and long-term components. The staff conducts long-term strategic planning and rulemaking to address potential issues, but also works actively on a day-to-day level to identify, assess and resolve existing safety issues.

Even as the agency considers new licensing applications, the NRC must stay focused on its core mission of ensuring the safety and security of existing reactors. No one – not the Commission, the staff or the licensees – can afford to be lulled into a sense of complacency about these issues. It was precisely this concern that motivated the Commission to create the Office of New Reactors, so that NRR could maintain a single-minded focus on the safety of the current operating fleet.

We have a lot of work ahead of us. NRR faces some long-standing challenges and some really difficult issues. Those include buried piping, submerged cables, containment sump performance, and, of course, fire protection. These issues won’t be resolved overnight. They undoubtedly will require the sustained focus of both the Commission and the staff. But we must continue to work towards closure of these issues.

Note: Briefing slides for this meeting are available at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/slides/2010/20100126/nrr-staff-slides-100126.pdf. A full transcript of the meeting will be available soon at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/commission/tr/2010/.

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