Industry Actions

What is FLEX?

FLEX is a strategy developed by the nuclear energy industry to implement the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)’s Fukushima task force recommendations quickly and effectively. FLEX addresses the main safety challenges at Fukushima—the loss of cooling capability and electrical power resulting from a severe natural event—to make U.S. facilities even safer.

The strategy is “flexible” in that it relies on portable equipment to protect against even the most unlikely events — events that go beyond the plant’s design basis.

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WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Nuclear Energy Institute today announced the industry’s unanimous approval of an initiative to procure additional on-site portable equipment that will be available to help ensure that every commercial nuclear energy facility can respond safely to extreme events, no matter what the cause.

Companies that operate America’s nuclear energy facilities already have acquired or ordered more than 300 pieces of major equipment to supplement layer upon layer of safety at the nation’s commercial reactors. The initiative commits every company operating a nuclear energy facility to order or enter into contract for a plant-specific list of emergency equipment by March 31.

The equipment ranges from diesel-driven pumps and electric generators to ventilation fans, hoses, fittings, cables and communications gear. It also includes support materials for emergency responders, including food, water and other supplies.

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

There is an emerging consensus among U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff, the agency’s advisory committee, industry and key committees in Congress that an “all-hazards” approach offers the most promise for enhancing safety of nuclear energy facilities in a post-Fukushima, post 9/11 world and for expanding safety margin quickly. While the various parties to these discussions differ on certain technical aspects, and many details remain to be fleshed out, the apparent alignment at a conceptual level is a promising development as the post-Fukushima work moves forward on the commission’s aggressive schedule.

At a public meeting today of the NRC and industry steering committees on post-Fukushima actions, NEI Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer Anthony Pietrangelo sought to clarify how the intent of the industry’s diverse and flexible coping capability, or FLEX, differs from the goal of such frameworks as severe accident management guidelines (SAMGs). “The purpose of establishing diverse, flexible coping capabilities is to prevent fuel damage, whereas SAMGs come into play after core damage,” Pietrangelo said.

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The industry will present a strategy to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission today on how it plans to enhance safety at the nation’s 67 plant sites to better equip them for unexpected events. The strategy—known as the “diverse and flexible mitigation capability,” or FLEX—addresses many of the recommendations set forth by the NRC’s Fukushima task force and takes into account some of the early lessons from the Fukushima accident on the need to maintain key safety functions amid conditions where electricity may be lost, back-up equipment could be damaged, and several reactors may be involved.

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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First