Nuclear Plants Make the Grade

Friday, March 11, 2011 @ 03:03 PM gHale

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued its annual assessment letters for nuclear power plant licensees, the agency said Tuesday.

Of the 104 operating nuclear plants in the United States, 89 of them “performed at the highest level” in 2010 and received normal, or baseline, inspections, said officials at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

In the five-column action matrix of NRC’s reactor oversight process, Column 1 plants require the least amount of agency oversight, while plants in Column 4 receive the most NRC attention short of a mandated shutdown under “unacceptable performance” criteria of Column 5.

Nine power reactors were in Column 2, “needing to resolve one or two items of low safety significance,” the agency said. Those units were Brunswick-1 and -2; Calvert Cliffs-2; Farley-1; Ginna; North Anna-2; Susquehanna-1; and Turkey Point-3 and -4.

Six units were in Column 3 “with one degraded safety cornerstone,” requiring “more NRC inspections, senior management attention and oversight focused on the cause of the degraded performance,” the agency said. These units were Oconee-1, -2 and -3; Fort Calhoun; Robinson-2; and Wolf Creek.

No reactors were in Column 4 or 5.

This spring and summer, public meetings “or other event[s]” will be held near each nuclear power plant to discuss the annual assessments, NRC said.

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