NRC to increase oversight of Pennsylvania plant

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced Monday that it will increase oversight activity at the Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant in Salem Township, Pennsylvania.

This increase in oversight is a result of the facility receiving a "white" safety concern marker during an inspection. The NRC uses color markers that determine the severity of a violation, with the white marker indicating a low-to-moderate safety concern. In this case, the determination of the 15-minute clock for emergency declaration and assessment following a potential breach in primary containment drew concern.

"It’s important during an emergency situation that state, county and local officials are provided with information in a timely manner to assess the situation and implement protective actions, if warranted,” NRC Region I Administrator Dan Dorman said. “While the probability of an event of this magnitude is extremely low, this finding points to a weakness in that area that the company will need to address."

The NRC states that this 15-minute time frame begins when operators are aware of an issue. Plant owners and staff interpreted this rule to begin after either staff containment failure or when that was expected to occur.

The company that owns the plant, Susquehanna Nuclear LLC, stated that training protocol for this issue had been addressed prior to the finding, however it did accept the finding. Within the finding, it was also indicated that the plant did not have an emergency plan that met with federal standards.

As a result of this indication, the plant will be subject to supplemental inspections to ensure that the company implements corrective actions.

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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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