By Gregory Hale
Annual letters went out to the nation’s 98 commercial nuclear power plants operating in 2018 regarding their performance throughout the year, and the end result is all facilities were in the two highest performance categories.
Ninety-three of 98 fully met all safety and security performance objectives and were inspected by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) using the normal “baseline” inspection program.
Four reactors were assessed as needing to resolve one or two items of low safety significance. For this performance level, regulatory oversight includes additional inspection and follow-up of corrective actions. Plants in this level are: Grand Gulf (Mississippi); Peach Bottom 2 & 3 (Pennsylvania); and Watts Bar 2 (Tennessee). Watts Bar 2 resolved its issues since the reporting period ended and has transitioned to the highest performing level.
There were no reactors in the third performance category with a degraded level of performance.
One reactor has transitioned out of the fourth performance category. Pilgrim (Massachusetts) was in that category because of now-resolved issues of low-to-moderate safety significance.
Reactors that reach this category receive additional inspections to confirm the performance issues are being addressed, and Pilgrim’s latest additional inspection concluded the plant can return to the highest performance level.
Later this spring and summer, the NRC will host a public meeting or other event in the vicinity of each plant to discuss the details of the annual assessment results. A separate announcement will be issued for each public assessment meeting. In addition to the annual assessment letters, plants also receive an NRC inspection plan for the coming year.
Information on the NRC’s oversight of commercial nuclear power plants is available through the NRC’s webpage on the Reactor Oversight Process. The NRC routinely updates information on each plant’s current performance and posts the latest information as it becomes available to the action matrix summary.