April 2012

The following story originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

U.S. nuclear energy facilities recorded the lowest number of unplanned shutdowns in more than a decade last year, despite an unusually high number of natural disasters near several plants.

According to performance indicators compiled by the World Association of Nuclear Operators (WANO) and the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO), the 62 unplanned automatic and manual shutdowns in 2011—even after tornadoes in the Southeast, flooding in the Midwest, an earthquake in Virginia and Hurricane Irene—bested the previous record of 65 set in 2005.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • Kansai Electric Power Co. has submitted to the Japanese ministry of industry its safety action plan to comply with new nuclear safety standards that the government says are necessary for shutdown reactors to restart. First-stage “stress tests” for Kansai’s two Ohi nuclear reactors have already been approved by the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and the Nuclear Safety Commission. The tests demonstrate that the reactors would withstand an earthquake and tsunami similar to those that struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility last March. The government’s new standards require nuclear energy facility operators to make plant safety improvements on a prearranged schedule. Kansai Electric agreed to install emergency power generators in multiple locations and, by 2015, install filtered vents and build an earthquake-resistant emergency response center.
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Later today, U.S. Nuclear Regulator Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko will be taking a tour of San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. While there, he’ll be updated on the progress of the investigation into leaks found in tubes in the steam generators inside Units 2 and 3.

Overnight, Southern California Edison (SCE) posted a video message from President Ron Litzinger on the progress of the investigation, repeating that the plant won’t be restarted until repairs are complete and the safety of the public and the plants workers can be guaranteed.

For more information on the situation at San Onofre, please visit SongsCommunity.com.

Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • NEI has sent to nuclear energy facility managers a set of recommended generic templates for industry responses to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s orders on mitigation strategies, hardened containment vents and used fuel pool instrumentation. Initial responses to the orders are due to the NRC today, 20 days after they were issued March 12. The industry also is preparing requests for proposals from companies interested in operating a network of regional response centers stocked with emergency equipment to respond to severe events at nuclear energy facility sites. The regional response centers are part of the industry’s FLEX strategy. In the meantime, an industry initiative is under way to ensure that all plant operators had placed contracts or procurement orders for the first phase of the FLEX equipment by March 31, 2012.
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Dominion's System Engineer Dan O'Connor

Dominion's System Engineer Dan O'Connor (Click to enlarge.)

Dan O’Connor is a system engineer with four decades of experience in the U.S. Navy and the commercial nuclear power industry. After assisting in the construction and start-up testing of three nuclear energy facilities, O’Connor began working at Dominion’s Surry Power Station in southeastern Virginia in 1991, where he is responsible for the facility’s medium- and high-voltage systems. O’Connor monitors the performance of a variety of electrical systems at the plant, including the electrical switchyard that was damaged by a tornado during a massive tornado outbreak in April 2011.
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First