NRC Puts 94 Percent of U.S. Plants In Top Two Assessment Tiers

Seventy-five percent of the nation's 100 commercial nuclear power reactors fully met all regulatory safety and security performance objectives in 2014, while 94 percent were in the top two highest performance categories, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Friday.

With annual assessment letters sent out, the NRC said 19 reactors were assessed as needing to resolve one or two low significance items, which require additional follow-up inspections. These plants include: Calvert Cliffs 2 (Maryland); Clinton (Illinois); Davis-Besse (Ohio); Diablo Canyon 1 and 2 (California); Fermi 2 (Michigan); Fitzpatrick (New York); Limerick 1 and 2 (Pennsylvania); Millstone 3 (Connecticut); Oconee 1 (South Carolina); Oyster Creek (New Jersey); Palisades (Michigan); Point Beach 2 (Wisconsin); River Bend (Louisiana); Salem 1 (New Jersey); St. Lucie 1 (Florida); Waterford (Louisiana) and Wolf Creek (Kansas).

That leaves six. Of those, two nuclear reactors are in the third performance category with a degraded level of performance, the NRC said in a statement. For these plants – Pilgrim (Massachusetts) and Point Beach 1 (Wisconsin) – increased oversight is required by NRC standards, including more NRC inspections, senior management attention and oversight focused on the cause(s) of the degraded performance.

Monticello (Minnesota) was in this third category when reports were issued, but the plant has since resolved some of its problems, transitioning up to the second highest performing level.

Two of the remaining three reactors, Arkansas Nuclear One 1 and 2, were put in the fourth performance category, requiring increased oversight because of two safety findings of substantial significance. The NRC requirements call for several additional inspections and frequent NRC management involvement to confirm the performance issues are being addressed.

Finally, the Fort Calhoun plant in Nebraska is under a special NRC oversight program distinct from the normal performance levels because of an extended shutdown associated with significant performance issues that began in May 2011 during heavy flooding of the Missouri River.

In December 2013, the NRC oversight panel cleared the unit to resume operations, but the plant will remain under special oversight until the panel recommends, and senior NRC management approves, returning it to regular oversight. Currently, Fort Calhoun, in its special status, does not receive annual assessment letters.

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

Anonymous comments will be moderated. Join for free and post now!