• Wed, Dec 7 2016

    NRC’s Supporting Role in NASA’s Mars 2020 Launch

    Don Helton Senior Reliability and Risk Engineer “Outer space” may not come to mind when you think about the NRC. But we’re excited to be involved with NASA in the planning for a 2020 launch of another Mars rover. As explained by NASA: The Mars 2020 rover mission is part of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, a long-term effort of robotic exploration of the red planet. Designed to advance high-priority science...
    • Thu, Dec 1 2016

    REFRESH — Where There’s Steam, There’s … a Steam Generator

    Kenneth Karwoski Senior Advisor for Steam Generators When the NRC talks about “steam generators,” we’re not talking about teakettles. Steam generators provide vital technical and safety functions at many U.S. nuclear power plants. In the United States, steam generators are only found in pressurized-water reactors, one of the two types of U.S. reactors. There can be two to four steam generators for each reactor unit...
    • Mon, Nov 28 2016

    NRC Begins Significant Activity under Heightened Oversight at Pilgrim Nuclear Plant

    Neil Sheehan Public Affairs Officer Region I A significant activity at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant gets underway today when a team of inspectors arrives at the Plymouth, Mass., facility to examine a variety of aspects of its operation. Included on the 20-member team will be inspectors tasked with evaluating the state of equipment reliability, human performance, plant procedures and the plant’s corrective action...
    • Wed, Nov 23 2016

    Have a Safe and Happy Thankgiving

    Filed under: General
    • Mon, Nov 21 2016

    Time to Mark Your Calendars for the NRC’s Biggest Conference

    Stephanie West Public Affairs Specialist   March 14, 15 and 16 boast some interesting historical events. Albert Einstein was born, the first internet domain name was registered and the first issue of the Federal Register was published. These dates will be noteworthy in 2017, as well, as this is when the NRC’s 29 th Annual Regulatory Information Conference will be held in Rockville, Md. Each year, this conference...
    • Fri, Nov 18 2016

    Updating Radioactive Materials Transportation Regulations

    Emma Wong Project Manager If you have ever wondered about the safety of packaging and transporting radioactive materials, now is the perfect opportunity to learn about it. The NRC is kicking off the process of updating our requirements in 10 CFR Part 71 . We do this periodically to reflect new information. Changes to international packaging and transportation standards published by the International Atomic Energy...
    • Tue, Nov 15 2016

    Different Control Rooms – Same Stringent Requirements for Operators

    Roger Hannah Senior Public Affairs Officer Region II U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operators must have the training, experience and skills to safely operate the reactor — and they must possess a license issued by the NRC. The nation’s four new nuclear units being built, two at the Vogtle site in Georgia and two at the Summer site in South Carolina, will need licensed teams of operators and the companies...
    • Thu, Nov 10 2016

    Filed under: General Tagged: NRC , Veterans Day
    • Tue, Nov 8 2016

    Five Questions With: Andrea Veil

    Andrea Veil is the Executive Director for the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards How would you briefly describe your role at the NRC? I serve as the liaison between the ACRS and the NRC staff at all levels and the NRC Commissioners. I also manage the technical and administrative staff who support the ACRS as it meets its obligation to provide the Commission with independent and timely technical advice. By...
    • Thu, Nov 3 2016

    An Explanation of Capacity Factor

    Neil Sheehan Public Affairs Officer Region I Earlier this year, the nuclear power industry announced it had set a record for reliability in 2015. The measuring stick for this achievement is what is known as “capacity factor.” But what exactly is that? Put simply, capacity factor compares how much energy was generated against the maximum that could have been produced at continuous full-power operation during a specific...
    • Tue, Nov 1 2016

    REAL ID and Access to Nuclear Power Plants

    Mark Resner Senior Security Specialist October 10 was the deadline for five states to comply with the REAL ID Act of 2005, implementing federal standards for tamper-proof identification documents such as driver’s licenses. According to the Department of Homeland Security , effective Jan. 30, 2017, “nuclear power plants may not accept for official purposes driver’s licenses and state IDs from a noncompliant state...
    • Thu, Oct 27 2016

    Under NRC’s Watchful Eye — New Commercial Nuclear Power Plant Comes on Line

    Joey Ledford Public Affairs Officer Region II The nuclear power industry notched a significant milestone last week when the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2 began commercial operations. It was the nation’s first new generating unit to come on line in 20 years. More than 350 NRC staff members were involved in the construction inspection and project management effort for Watts Bar 2. Ironically, the...
    • Tue, Oct 25 2016

    An Era Ends at the Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant

    Victor Dricks Senior Public Affairs Officer Region IV Shortly before 1 p.m. Monday, operators in the control room of the Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant pushed a red button, initiating an automatic shutdown of the reactor. So ended commercial operations for the nation’s smallest nuclear power plant, located along the Missouri River, about 20 miles north of Omaha, Neb. When it happened, just as it had done when...
    • Thu, Oct 20 2016

    Five Questions With Tom Rich

    Tom Rich is head of the agency’s Information Security Directorate How would you describe your job in three sentences or less? My job is to work with others to protect NRC’s information and information systems. This includes providing security training, performing security assessments, testing the vulnerability of our IT systems to phishing and penetration attacks, responding to security incidents and keeping up...
    • Tue, Oct 18 2016

    REFRESH: Protecting the NRC’s Cyber Frontier

    By David McIntyre Public Affairs Officer The email was flagged urgent and screamed in capital letters: YOUR IMMEDIATE ATTENTION REQUIRED! The message said a software update was needed to avoid major system disruption, and to click a link and enter a network password. The NRC employee who received the email thought the message looked suspicious. Instead of clicking on the link, she forwarded the message as an attachment...
    • Thu, Oct 13 2016

    Throwback Thursday: The ACRS ’80s Style

    The Advisory Committee on Reactor Safety is a statutory body of scientists, engineers and other experts in fields related to nuclear safety. The Committee conducts independent reviews of nuclear power plant applications and other matters referred to it by the NRC. It has a long history – its responsibilities were described in the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended. This group shot, taken from the 1989 Annual Report...
    • Wed, Oct 12 2016

    Radium Part III: The NRC’s Role

    Richard Chang Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards We’ve been writing in this series about radium—how it was discovered, how it was used, how it can impact human health. Today we want to explain where the NRC fits in. As we said in our last post, the states originally oversaw radium use. In 2005, Congress gave the NRC authority over radium through the Energy Policy Act. In 2007, we put in place our...
    • Thu, Oct 6 2016

    Hurricane Matthew and the NRC

    Joey Ledford Public Affairs Officer Region II It’s hard to believe, but no major hurricane has made landfall in the continental United States since 2005. Hurricane Wilma came ashore in southwest Florida in October of that year as a Category 3 storm, but then skirted the peninsula and went back into the Atlantic. During this record respite of 11 years, the NRC never stopped training and preparing for big storms...
    • Tue, Oct 4 2016

    Five Questions with the NRC’s SECY

    Annette Vietti-Cook is the NRC’s Secretary of the Commission How would you describe your job in three sentences or less? Every day I work directly with the Commission offices managing the Commission’s decisionmaking process, and as the official record keeper, historian, and meeting coordinator. I oversee the planning of Commission meetings, drafting of Commission decisions, tracking of Commission requirements...
    • Fri, Sep 30 2016

    Baffle Bolts: An Update

    Neil Sheehan Public Affairs Officer Region I There have been some new developments since our last blog post , on June 1, regarding degraded reactor vessel bolts identified at a pair of nuclear power plants in the Northeast. Most notably, both the Indian Point 2 plant, in New York, and the Salem 1 plant, in New Jersey, returned to service over the summer. Indian Point 2 came back online in late June after 278 of...
    • Wed, Sep 28 2016

    Radium Part II: Trying to Close Pandora’s Box

    Tom Wellock NRC Historian Until 1945, radium was the best known radioactive material. It was widely found in consumer and medical products. And, as we saw in Part I of this series , it became notorious for fatally sickening radium watch-dial painters in the 1920s. With few exceptions, oversight of public and workplace safety for radium was mostly a state responsibility, and the federal government’s role was limited...
    • Mon, Sep 26 2016

    Radium Part I: Opening Pandora’s Box

    Tom Wellock NRC Historian Marie and Pierre Curie When Marie and Pierre Curie discovered Radium-226 in 1898, it opened up the atom’s secrets and offered hope that its mysterious radioactive rays were a miracle cure. Sobering reality replaced euphoria as radium factory workers began to die. Radium taught the world of radiation’s dangers, yet it was not until 2005 that Congress put all aspects of radium safety oversight...
    • Thu, Sep 22 2016

    Election Year, the Hatch Act and NRC Employees

    Eric Michel Attorney Like most Americans, the employees of the NRC are watching the 2016 elections and considering who to vote for in November. But unlike most Americans, there are a number of political activities which NRC employees – as part of the federal government – cannot do. The prohibitions are contained in the Hatch Act, a law first passed in 1939. The act restricts executive branch employees in their actions...
    • Mon, Sep 19 2016

    Back to Basics – Seeking Comment on a New Commission Public Meeting Policy

    Lance Rakovan Senior Communications Specialist We are always looking to make our public meetings better. To that end, we’ve drafted a new Commission policy statement on public meetings and are seeking public comment to make sure it hits the mark. The new policy statement is meant to re-affirm the importance of public participation in NRC’s public meetings and address a number of concerns noted previously by the public...
    • Wed, Sep 14 2016

    Senior Earthquake Experts Help Analyze Palo Verde Risk

    Brill Hill Senior Advisor Office of New Reactors The NRC regularly works with outside experts when we examine technical issues, including earthquake hazards. We’ve just reviewed how the Palo Verde nuclear power plant in Arizona used experts as it re-evaluated its quake hazard. We’re satisfied with the results. For almost 20 years the agency has used the Senior Seismic Hazard Advisory Committee approach to consider...