Annual report cards out for U.S. power reactors

March 9, 2023, 9:30AMNuclear News

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced last Friday the issuance of 2022 assessment letters to operators of the nation’s commercial nuclear reactors, noting that of the 93 units in the agency’s Reactor Oversight Process, 87 “reached the highest performance category in safety and security,” known as Licensee Response.

Those reactors, including Vogtle-3—which, although not yet in service, was authorized by the agency for operation last year—remain in Licensee Response at this writing.

Six reactors, however, had by the end of last year slipped into the second, more highly scrutinized performance category, “Regulatory Response,” and continue to reside there.

Reprimanded reactors: Units under additional NRC oversight include the following:

  • Calvert Cliffs-1, for failing to implement foreign material exclusion practices in accordance with site procedures. Specifically, the licensee failed to prevent the introduction of foreign material into the 1A emergency diesel generator, which led to an EDG automatic trip and consequential failure on February 20, 2022, during routine testing.
  • Davis-Besse, for a security-related finding originating in the third quarter of 2021. (Details of security findings are not divulged to the public.)
  • Peach Bottm-2, for the performance of a procedure inappropriate to the circumstances, causing a reactor scram, primary containment isolation system Group I isolation, safety-relief valve actuation, and loss of the normal heat sink, which required emergency core cooling systems to maintain level and pressure.
  • Quad Cities-2, for the failure of one of the four electromatic relief valves associated with the automatic depressurization subsystem to actuate during surveillance testing. As a result, the valve was inoperable from April 7, 2020, until March 21, 2022.
  • Summer, for failing to identify and correct a condition adverse to quality that resulted in the inoperability of the B emergency diesel generator.
  • Waterford, for errors associated with the main condenser wide range gas monitor (WRGM), which introduced the potential to overclassify radiological emergencies and made the results of dose assessment using the main condenser WRGM inaccurate.

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