Nuclear Energy

Bonnie Bryant in Control Room Simulator

Bonnie Bryant, Senior Reactor Operator, NextEra's Seabrook Station

For Bonnie Bryant, nuclear power is a family affair. Both she and her husband have worked at the Seabrook Station (Seabrook, N.H.) since the early 1990s, and both have a senior reactor operator’s license. Bryant calls herself a “nontraditional operator,” since she started her nuclear energy industry career as a chemist at Seabrook.
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Employees Training in a Control Room Simulator

Employees Training in a Control Room Simulator

Responding to Fukushima: Part 5 of a 5-Part Series

Though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concluded that America’s nuclear energy facilities are operating safely, the NRC and the nuclear energy industry agree that adapting lessons learned from the incident in Japan will require the review of current emergency operating guidelines and procedures. If new guidelines and procedures are developed, implementing them successfully will require additional training for industry workers.

Constant training has been a hallmark of the American nuclear industry. Before the NRC licenses an individual to operate or supervise operators of a nuclear power reactor, he or she must have several years of related experience and complete extensive classroom, simulator and on-the-job training. After that, reactor operators spend every fifth week training in a full-scale simulator that is the exact replica of each plant’s control room.
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Enrico Fermi Nuclear Generating Station  Responding to Fukushima: Part 4 of a 5-Part Series

Containment vents play an important role in the overall safety strategy at nuclear energy facilities by preventing the potentially hazardous buildup of pressure from steam and gases inside a reactor. A specially designed vent in the massive containment dome that surrounds a reactor is designed to withstand extreme events by relieving primary containment pressure to a stack or other elevated release point.

Boiling water reactors with Mark I containment structures, the type of reactor at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi facility, have a proven record of more than 40 years of safe and reliable operations.  Twenty-three of this type of reactor in the United States are equipped with these specially designed vents. Although vent valves are rarely used—they’ve never been needed during five decades of operation at U.S. reactors—the events in Japan highlighted the need to ensure that they would function even in the most unlikely circumstances.
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Plant Status

  • Workers at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility have taken steps to halt the possibility of localized fission reactions in reactor 2 after detecting trace amounts radioactive xenon in the reactor’s containment vessel, NHK World reports. Xenon is a byproduct of fission. Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the facility, reports no significant changes in temperature, pressure and other data from the reactor.
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Though the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) Fukushima task force confirmed that America’s nuclear energy facilities are safe, the industry is committed to ensuring that it incorporates all relevant lessons from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi facility to make nuclear energy facilities even safer.

As the nuclear industry, federal regulators and international experts work to learn and apply lessons from the events at Fukushima, the U.S. nuclear industry already is adding new layers of safety and preparedness.  This is a starting point for what will be a carefully considered effort to further strengthen safety at U.S. nuclear plants.
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First