Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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

NRC Commissioner William Ostendorff told attendees at NEI’s Licensing Forum this week that the nuclear energy industry needs to communicate how the FLEX strategy would work to bolster public safety.

FLEX, the industry’s response to the NRC’s March 12 post-Fukushima order requiring nuclear facility operators to mitigate the consequences of an extreme natural event, provides additional layers of backup power and reactor cooling capability by stationing supplemental emergency equipment—generators, battery packs, pumps, air compressors and battery chargers—on reactor sites and at several off-site storage locations that can be deployed to any distressed facility.
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The following news article originally appeared in NEI’s Nuclear Energy Overview.

NEI has reiterated its position that the key to minimizing radioactive releases during an accident is to avoid core damage. In a letter to the NRC, NEI is also urging the agency to consolidate several issues it is analyzing separately.

NEI’s letter says the best approach to reduce the potential for land contamination is fundamentally by the numerous actions to prevent core damage already promulgated under the high-priority (Tier 1) recommendations issued by the NRC’s post-Fukushima task force.
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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • The post-Fukushima response steering committees of the nuclear energy industry and Nuclear Regulatory Commission reviewed accomplishments and work in progress during a joint meeting last week. Nuclear energy industry representatives highlighted completion of inspections for potential flooding and seismic activity, validation of procedures and equipment readiness for loss of off-site electrical power, purchase of additional portable safety equipment, and selection of a vendor for a regional response center. Work in progress includes establishing guidance and conducting further inspections for flooding and seismic assessments and integrating emergency operating procedures and severe accident management guidelines.
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Emergency Preparedness and Security Director Monica Ray communicates with her team during a drill exercise.

Emergency Preparedness & Security Director Monica Ray communicates with her team during a drill exercise. (Click to enlarge.)

In Monica Ray’s experience, preparing for the unlikely event of an emergency at Arizona Public Service’s Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station requires coordination and communication. From comparing lessons learned with emergency response teams at other nuclear energy facilities to updating the Arizona Division of Emergency Management on new protective actions, Palo Verde’s director of emergency preparedness and security is constantly facilitating communication between groups inside and outside of the industry to ensure that the facility and the community are prepared for any potential emergency.

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Industry/Regulatory/Political

  • A new study by the Electric Power Research Institute that examines options for minimizing the release of radioactive materials in a severe nuclear accident says that a combination of strategies would be much more effective than depending on any single measure. In particular, EPRI says that combining containment sprays or immersion of damaged fuel with a specifically designed vent that can reliably open and close at appropriate times would provide a more than 1,000-fold reduction in the amount of fission products released. Adding low-efficiency filters to vents can further reduce the release of fission product particles, although the report recommends further research to evaluate the efficacy of filter designs. EPRI acknowledges that “the best way to avoid radiological release and potential land contamination is to prevent an accident from occurring by improving and augmenting the strategies for preventing core damage,” a strategy in line with the industry’s “FLEX” approach.
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Activity ID: 1002943 Activity Name: NEI Remarketing Safety Activity Group Name: Remarketing Safety First