NRC changes Reactor Oversight Process standard

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has made a change to its Reactor Oversight Process (ROP), the agency said on Wednesday.

New criteria are in place for determining whether a nuclear plant requires more oversight.

The NRC agreed with a staff recommendation that three low-to-moderate safety-significance inspection findings or performance indicators should be sufficient to place a reactor facility within Column Three of the Reactor Oversight Process Action Matrix. This designation represents facilities that are not meeting all safety requirements and are assigned more oversight activity. Column Five represents reactor facilities that are ordered shut down for failure to perform at regulatory levels.

“The Reactor Oversight Process is a mature and effective program,” Bill Dean, director of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation, said. “For the past 15 years, it has helped us provide appropriate oversight of the nation’s commercial nuclear power plants. These adaptations will help us target our oversight more precisely on those plants with significant performance issues.”

The rule change will take effect in January. At this time, it does not impact the current status of any U.S. plants.

The ROP was established in 2000 as a yardstick to measure facility performance across seven areas.

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U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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