NRC advises that work end on low-priority post-Fukushima reactor upgrades

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) said late last week that the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has recommended ending work on several lower-priority upgrades that would do little to improve reactor safety.

These lower-priority measures were among many regulatory requirements mandated after the Fukushima reactor accident in Japan in 2011. The NRC's latest recommendations were issued after the agency judged them to be unnecessary.

As far as high-priority upgrades, Bill Dean, director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, said 50 U.S. nuclear plants will be in compliance with mitigation strategies ordered by the NRC, and approximately 80 plants will be compliant with the commission’s spent-fuel instrumentation order by the end of autumn.

“The substantial safety enhancement we have gained from implementation of mitigation strategies so far, the fact that we are incorporating the re-evaluated hazards of seismic and flooding into mitigation strategies, the detailed analyses that were done to support the (radiation) release reduction rulemaking … show that it would be a hard bar to get over for making cost-beneficial substantial safety improvement(s),” NRC Japan Lessons Learned Director Jack Davis said.

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