pilgrim


Nuclear Safety Performance at Pilgrim

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) held a public meeting on Tuesday, January 31, 2017, in Plymouth, Massachusetts. A large crowd of over 300 individuals (perhaps thousands more by White House math) attended, including me. Elected officials in Massachusetts—the attorney general, the governor, the entire US Congressional delegation, and state senators and representatives—had requested the meeting. Many of these officials, or their representatives, attended the meeting.

The elected officials asked the NRC to conduct a public meeting to discuss the contents of an email from the leader of an NRC inspection team at Pilgrim to others within the agency regarding the results from the first week’s efforts. An NRC staffer forwarded this email to others within the agency, and inadvertently to Diane Turco of the Cape Downwinders, a local organization. The contents of the leaked email generated considerable attention.

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Special Inspections: Safety Relief Valve Problems at Perry and Hatch

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Near-Miss Summary

The Near-Miss

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sent special inspection teams to the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry, Ohio and to the Edwin I. Hatch Nuclear Plant near Baxley, Georgia early this year. Both plants feature boiling water reactors (BWRs) and both experienced problems with safety relief valves that prompted the NRC’s reactions. Read more >

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Nuclear Safety inFLEXibility

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #23

Disaster by Design

Among the actions taken by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in response to the March 11, 2011, accident at Fukushima was to issue an order on March 12, 2012, to all U.S. nuclear plant owners requiring them to procure equipment and implement measures to enable their facilities to cope with an extended loss of normal and backup power supplies to emergency equipment. Read more >

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Severe Accident Management Guidelines for Nuclear Plants

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #22

Disaster by Design

The March 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania showed that the procedures used by workers in responding to accidents could be significantly improved. Read more >

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Problems with “Infrequently Performed Tests” at Nuclear Plants

, director, Nuclear Safety Project

Disaster by Design/Safety by Intent #19

Disaster by Design

IPTE in the nuclear industry stands for Infrequently Performed Tests or Evolutions. It describes the measures applied before undertaking planned activities that are not routinely conducted. When tasks are performed on a daily or weekly basis, workers develop proficiencies that are maintained by habit. But when workers have not performed a task in quite a while, it is possible that their awareness of the proper steps has diminished, or that the proper steps have been revised.

If familiarity breeds contempt, lack of familiarity breeds confusion. And confusion at the controls of a nuclear power plant is seldom helpful. Read more >

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