• Mon, Sep 11 2017

    NRC Continues to Respond to Irma

    Roger Hannah Senior Public Affairs Officer, Region II As Irma (now a tropical storm) continues its march through the south, the NRC continues to monitor its path and the nuclear power plants potentially along that route. The Turkey Point Unit 3, in south Florida, remains safely shut down, as it has been since Saturday. The Turkey Point Unit 4 shut down automatically just before 7 p.m. Sunday evening due to a valve...
    • Thu, Sep 7 2017

    The NRC Readies for Hurricane Irma

    Roger Hannah Senior Public Affairs Officer, Region II At least two nuclear power plants, Turkey Point and St. Lucie , are in the predicted path of Hurricane Irma. Both are preparing for the strong and potentially damaging storm – just as they have for past dangerous hurricanes. Twenty-five years ago, Turkey Point was directly in the path of Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 storm, and although many of the plant’s structures...
    • Wed, Mar 22 2017

    Taking a Long-Term View on New Reactor Licenses

    Scott Burnell Public Affairs Officer Since 2012, the NRC has licensed 11 new reactors in the United States. The first four of those are under construction, two in Georgia and two in South Carolina . The other seven? Their licenses are ready to go whenever the companies involved choose to start building them, and here’s why. These new reactors are authorized through the NRC’s Combined License process. Under this...
    • Tue, Mar 7 2017

    Five Questions With Michael Weber

    Michael Weber is the head of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research How would you briefly describe your role at the NRC? I lead NRC’s scientists, engineers and administrative professionals in confirming safety and security through research on nuclear power plants and uses of nuclear materials, including transportation and disposal. I also help develop our people, computer codes, standards, and experiments...
    • Wed, Mar 1 2017

    OIG Audit Looks at Security for Decommissioning Reactors

    Brett M. Baker Assistant Inspector General for Audits An Office of the Inspector General audit of the NRC’s oversight of security at decommissioning reactors is now available here . The audit set out to determine whether NRC’s oversight of security at decommissioning reactors provides for adequate protection of radioactive structures, systems and components. The NRC regulates the decommissioning of nuclear power...
    • Mon, Feb 27 2017

    NRC Inspectors: Free to Inspect

    Diane Screnci Senior Public Affairs Officer Region I We often talk about having NRC Resident Inspectors at each commercial nuclear plant acting as the eyes and ears of the agency on site. It’s important to understand how they go about their business. Amar Patel On a daily basis, resident inspectors are attending meetings, walking down equipment, monitoring major work activities, reviewing paperwork, and talking...
    • Wed, Feb 22 2017

    Principles of Good Regulation: Clarity

    Regulations should be coherent, logical, and practical. There should be a clear nexus between regulations and agency goals and objectives whether explicitly or implicitly stated. Agency positions should be readily understood and easily applied. Maureen Conley Public Affairs Officer The NRC has a double challenge when it comes to clarity. We are a regulatory agency that derives its authority from a series of laws...
    • Fri, Feb 10 2017

    Principles of Good Regulation: Efficiency

    Maureen Wylie Chief Financial Officer The American taxpayer, the rate-paying consumer, and licensees are all entitled to the best possible management and administration of regulatory activities. The highest technical and managerial competence is required, and must be a constant agency goal. NRC must establish means to evaluate and continually upgrade its regulatory capabilities. Regulatory activities should be consistent...
    • Wed, Feb 8 2017

    Projected End Date for Indian Point Plant Comes into Clearer Focus

    Neil Sheehan Public Affairs Officer Region I April 30th will mark a decade since Entergy submitted a license renewal application to the NRC for the Indian Point nuclear power plant. During the intervening years, thorough NRC staff reviews and a complex hearing on the proposal by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board , the quasi-judicial arm of the NRC, have moved steadily forward. But then came an announcement on...
    • Wed, Feb 1 2017

    Principles of Good Regulation: Openness

    Roger Hannah Senior Public Affairs Officer Region II Nuclear regulation is the public’s business, and it must be transacted publicly and candidly. The public must be informed about and have the opportunity to participate in the regulatory processes as required by law. Open channels of communication must be maintained with Congress, other government agencies, licensees, and the public, as well as with the international...
    • Tue, Jan 31 2017

    Principles of Good Regulation: Independence

    Brett Klukan Regional Counsel Region I My aim in this post is to explore with you the meaning and implications of the first of the NRC’s Principles of Good Regulation: “independence.” At a glance, this might seem a simple task. “Independence” is one of those concepts like “justice” or “liberty” — we know what it is, we know what it looks and feels like; however, we have trouble, if asked, to precisely define...
    • Thu, Jan 26 2017

    Moments in NRC History – 25 Years of the NRC’s Principles of Good Regulation

    Tom Wellock Historian While the NRC always considered itself a principled regulator, it was not until Jan. 17, 1991, that the agency developed written principles that encouraged regulatory excellence and addressed inadequate performance. Those principles – five traits of what a good regulator should be – were authored by then-NRC Commissioner Kenneth Rogers. Today, they form the basis of regulatory regimes throughout...
    • Mon, Jan 23 2017

    UPDATE: Protecting Commercial Nuclear Facilities from Cyber Attack

    James Andersen Director, Cyber Security Directorate The NRC has been very forward-thinking in developing cyber security requirements for nuclear power plants. The cyber threat is always evolving, and so is our approach. We first imposed cyber security requirements in Orders issued after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Drawing on our experience with those steps, we formalized regulations in 2009. Our “cyber security roadmap...
    • Tue, Jan 17 2017

    Re-Evaluating Category 3 Source Protection and Accountability

    Duncan White Senior Health Physicist Back in July, we talked about the Government Accountability Office’s investigation in which the GAO created a fake company that was successful in one out of three tries at getting a license for radioactive material. Once they received the license and placed an order, GAO then altered the license to increase the quantity of material authorized and placed a second order.  The higher...
    • Fri, Jan 13 2017

    A Special Message

    Filed under: General
    • Thu, Jan 12 2017

    On the Road to Small Reactor Design Reviews

    Scott Burnell Public Affairs Officer As the NRC starts looking over NuScale’s application to certify the company’s first-of-its-kind “small modular reactor” design, it’s worth looking back at how we got here. It’s also useful to look at the steps we’ll follow going forward in our technical review. NuScale’s application is the first to propose a nuclear power plant designed with several small reactors instead of...
    • Tue, Jan 10 2017

    Update on Quality Assurance Issues in France

    David McIntyre Public Affairs Officer Today, the NRC is releasing information about large reactor components supplied to U.S. nuclear plants by AREVA’s Creusot Forge in France. This information includes the names of the plants and the reactor components involved. This blog post discusses the information as well as the NRC’s actions related to ongoing French investigations into potential defects and problems with...
    • Thu, Jan 5 2017

    REFRESH: Pokémon Go — Not a Go at Nuclear Plants

    Prema Chandrathil Public Affairs Officer NRC Region III The highly popular cellphone game has found its way to a U.S. commercial nuclear power plant. The Pokémon Go game lets users chase and catch virtual creatures with their cellphone cameras. However, Pokémon Go and other games that use the GPS signals in our phones are creating safety and security issues. Local law enforcement officials across the country have...
    • Tue, Jan 3 2017

    Getting Ready for Winter Looks Much Like Preparing for Hurricanes

    Neil Sheehan Public Affairs Officer Region I At first glance the blizzard that pounded the upper Midwest on Christmas weekend – or the winter storm that hit New England over New Year’s — doesn’t seem to have much in common with the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast or Eastern Seaboard during the hot summer months. But from our perspective, they do. NRC regulations requires that U.S. nuclear power plants...
    • Fri, Dec 30 2016

    Filed under: General
    • Tue, Dec 27 2016

    REFRESH — Let There Be Light

    More than 60 years ago this month – though not related to the holiday season as far as we know — a string of bulbs lit up courtesy of Argonne National Laboratory. What was the significance? The electricity used to power the bulbs was generated by an experimental breeder reactor and was the first electricity produced using the heat of nuclear fission. Photo from the Department of Energy REFRESH is an occasional...
    • Fri, Dec 23 2016

    Filed under: General
    • Tue, Dec 20 2016

    Five Questions with Rick Hasselberg

    Rick Hasselberg is a Senior Emergency Response Coordinator with the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Security and Incident Response. How would you briefly describe your role at the NRC? I manage the NRC’s Reactor Safety Team. If an emergency occurs at a nuclear power plant, my team is responsible for assessing nuclear facility conditions, predicting future conditions, and recommending actions the NRC might take to help...
    • Wed, Dec 14 2016

    Improving Public Meetings with New Facilitators and Policy Statement

    Lance Rakovan Senior Communications Specialist It’s been a while since I first addressed the topic of NRC facilitators in a blog post; however we recently brought a new group of facilitators into the NRC’s In-House Meeting Facilitator & Advisor Program and I thought the occasion was worth mentioning. The NRC’s latest public meeting facilitators are ready to step into their new roles. The purpose of the...
    • Mon, Dec 12 2016

    NRC’s Requirements Following Entergy’s Announcement Palisades Will Cease Operation

    Viktoria Mitlyng Senior Public Affairs Officer Region III Entergy announced last week it would permanently shut down its Palisades Nuclear Plant on October 1, 2018. The facility, located in Covert, Mich., has been in operation since 1971 and is licensed to operate until 2031. The NRC was not involved in the decision, which the company said was based on business and financial factors. Our single focus as an independent...