The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today issued its “Mid-Cycle Assessment” on the safety of the nation’s 104 commercial nuclear power plants. Not surprisingly, the agency found that its assessments “show that all plants continue to operate safely.” What I found interesting was the language used to rate the safety records of the reactors.
For example, after listing the highest rated plants, the NRC said that “eight plants performed at the next highest level.” You say next highest level, I saw one level lower. (Let’s call the whole thing off.)
Anyway, here’s most of the text from the NRC press release:
In the mid-cycle assessment period that concluded on June 30, 99 of 104 plants were in the two highest performance categories. Ninety-one plants were performing at the highest level and are being inspected by NRC using the normal detailed level inspection program. Eight plants performed at the next highest level, needing to resolve one or two items of low safety significance, and will receive additional inspection and attention to follow up on corrective actions. These plants were: Brunswick 1 and 2 (N.C.); Byron 2 (Ill.); Cooper (Neb.); Ginna (N.Y.); Millstone 2 (Conn.); Prairie Island 1 (Minn.) and Turkey Point 4 (Fla.)
Three nuclear reactors were at the third level of performance with one degraded safety cornerstone and will receive more NRC inspections, senior management attention and oversight focused on the cause of the degraded performance. These plants were: H. B. Robinson 2 (S.C.); Perry 1 (Ohio) and Susquehanna 1 (Pa).
Two plants, Browns Ferry Unit 1 (Ala.) and Fort Calhoun (Neb.), require the NRC’s highest level of attention, which will include additional inspections to confirm the plant’s performance issues are being addressed.
In addition, mid-cycle letters were also sent to both the Watts Bar Unit 2 site, (Tenn.) and the Vogtle Unit 3 and 4 site (Ga.) reviewing activities associated with the early site permit and limited work authorized by the NRC.