NRC Increases Oversight At Oyster Creek

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it would increase oversight of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in the Lacey Township of New Jersey, owning to a low to moderate safety concern which puts the plant in the white bracket in their color-coded assessment method.

Oyster Creek NPPWhite designates one shift above green, the status with the lowest level of concern. Above white, in increasing levels of concern, are plants designated yellow and red.

Designating a plant is in the white category triggers increased regulatory oversight. At Oyster Creek, the problem that sparked the concern involved one of the plant's electromagnetic relief valves (EMRV). There are five at the plant, but they are considered important in that they are involved in mitigating a potentially severe accident at the plant, said NRC Region I administrator Dan Dorman.

The valves are used to depressurize the reactor during a pipe break.

Dorman said the NRC will conduct supplemental inspections of the plant to see that the issue has been addressed. At a March 9 hearing, requested by plant owner Exelon, the company asserted that the valves problem was addressed during the most recent refueling and maintenance outage.

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