The Nuclear Regulatory Commission last Friday announced the publication of its ninth report to the Convention on Nuclear Safety, describing the federal government’s actions under the convention to achieve and maintain safety for the nation’s nuclear power reactor fleet.
An International Atomic Energy Agency treaty, the Convention on Nuclear Safety was adopted in 1994 and entered into force in 1996. In 1999, it was ratified by the U.S. Senate.
The aim of the convention, according to the IAEA, is to “commit contracting parties operating land-based civil nuclear power plants to maintain a high level of safety by establishing fundamental safety principles to which states would subscribe.” Signatories are required to submit reports for peer review at meetings held every three years.
NRC officials will discuss their agency’s 312-page report and respond to peer review questions at the convention’s joint eighth and ninth review meeting, to be convened in March of next year, at IAEA headquarters in Vienna. (The eighth meeting, originally scheduled for March 2020, was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.)
Specifics: The ninth U.S. national report addresses the status of safety topics identified in the eighth report, issued in 2019, including accident tolerant fuel and changes to the NRC’s Reactor Oversight Process. Also addressed are challenges and topics of heightened interest that have arisen since 2019, including the following:
- Advanced reactors
- Construction activities at Georgia’s Vogtle plant, Units 3 and 4
- Digital instrumentation and control upgrades
- Pandemic response
In addition, the report includes a section developed by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations describing the U.S. industry’s work to ensure safety. INPO officials will also be part of the U.S. delegation to the 2023 convention review meeting, the NRC said.