Y2K Computing Challenge: Nuclear Power Industry Reported Nearly Ready,
More Risk Reduction Measures Can Be Taken (Testimony, 10/26/1999,
GAO/T-AIMD-00-27).

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the year 2000
readiness of the nation's nuclear power industry, focusing on: (1) the
year 2000 status of the nation's nuclear power industry; (2) the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission's (NRC) oversight of the industry's year 2000
readiness; (3) an overview of the industry's contingency planning; and
(4) the international readiness of nuclear power plants.

GAO noted that: (1) NRC reported that 75 of the 103 nuclear power plants
were year 2000 ready, and that all of the 103 operational nuclear power
plants had resolved year 2000-related problems that could affect the
performance of systems needed to safely shut down the plants; (2) the
Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) updated the industry's year 2000
readiness status and reported that 101 of the 103 nuclear power plants
were year 2000 ready; (3) 6 of the 10 nuclear fuel facilities reported
to NRC that they were year 2000 ready by September 1, 1999; (4) all of
the nuclear fuel facilities, with the exception of two gaseous diffusion
plants, have informed NRC that they plan to be shut down during the year
2000 rollover period; (5) since 1996, NRC has been working with the
nuclear power industry--and NEI--to address year 2000 in the nuclear
power industry; (6) regarding reporting of year 2000 readiness, in 1998
NRC required all plants to report by July 1, 1999, to confirm if their
facility was year 2000 ready or would be by January 1, 2000; (7) in
January 1999 NRC completed audits of 12 year 2000 programs involving 42
of the 103 operating nuclear power plants; (8) between May and June
1999, NRC reviewed the contingency planning activities of 12 operating
nuclear powerplants, looking at the implementation of NEI's guidance;
(9) all 12 plants' planning activities were found to be consistent with
the guidance, and appropriate management and oversight was being
provided; (10) in light of these results and follow-up visits, NRC
concluded that plants were acceptably implementing industry guidance,
and therefore determined that such detailed reviews focusing
specifically on contingency planning were not necessary at additional
plants; (11) little current data are available on the year 2000
readiness of the 331 nuclear power plants operating outside the United
States; (12) the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has been working with its
27 member countries--representing 85 percent of the world's nuclear
power capacity--to ensure awareness of nuclear safety during the
transition to 2000; and (13) it should be noted that NRC--with
cooperation from NEA and the International Atomic Energy Agency--is
developing a prototype of an international year 2000 early warning
system.

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

 REPORTNUM:  T-AIMD-00-27
     TITLE:  Y2K Computing Challenge: Nuclear Power Industry Reported
	     Nearly Ready, More Risk Reduction Measures Can Be
	     Taken
      DATE:  10/26/1999
   SUBJECT:  Y2K
	     Strategic information systems planning
	     Information resources management
	     Nuclear powerplant safety
	     Data integrity
	     Systems conversions
	     Computer software verification and validation
IDENTIFIER:  Y2K

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Before the Subcommittee on Technology, Committee on Science, and the
Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology,
Committee on Government Reform, House of Representatives

For Release on Delivery
Expected at
10 a.m.
Tuesday,
October 26, 1999

Y2K COMPUTING CHALLENGE

Nuclear Power Industry Reported Nearly Ready; More Risk Reduction Measures
Can Be Taken

Statement of Joel C. Willemssen and Keith A. Rhodes
Directors, Accounting and Information Management
Division
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GAO/T-AIMD-00-27

Ms. Chairwoman, Mr. Chairman, and Members of the Subcommittees:

Thank you for inviting us to participate in today's hearing on the Year
2000 (Y2K) readiness of our nation's nuclear power industry. As with any
industry, nuclear power plants must ensure that their systems are Y2K
ready so that they can continue to operate and maintain an uninterrupted
supply of electrical power. Given the nature of the nuclear power
industry, a failure in systems could endanger safety and have potentially
serious short- and long-term consequences.

As requested, after a brief background discussion, today we will 
(1) highlight the Y2K status of the nation's nuclear power industry, 
(2) discuss the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) oversight of the
industry's Y2K readiness, (3) provide an overview of the industry's
contingency planning, and (4) comment on the international readiness of
nuclear power plants. 

Background

Our nation's nuclear power industry currently consists of 103 operating
nuclear power plants. These are run by 41 licensees at 66 sites. According
to NRC officials, an additional 19 nuclear power plants have been
decommissioned and are no longer operating, although 14 of them continue
to store highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel. Ten additional facilities
fabricate nuclear fuel. As figure 1 shows, most of the 103 currently
operating nuclear power plants and the 10 nuclear fuel facilities are
located in the eastern part of the country.

Figure****Helvetica:x11****1:    Nuclear Power Plants and Nuclear Fuel
                                 Facilities in the United
                                 States
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Source: NRC and the Nuclear Energy Institute.

Similar to other industrial facilities, nuclear power plants face a wide
range of internal and external Y2K risks. Internal risks include the
potential loss of reactor monitoring and control and the loss of emergency
equipment and services, while external risks may include the loss of off-
site electric power, water supply, critical consumables, and the loss of
emergency equipment and services.

Probably the most serious external risks faced by a nuclear power plant
are the potential instability of the electric power grid and the loss of
off-site electric power. Such events may cause reactor shutdowns, and
result in a loss of power or "station blackout." NRC studies show that a
major contributor to reactor core damage occurrences is a station blackout
event.

Figure****Helvetica:x11****2:    A Typical Nuclear Power
                                 Plant
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Figure 2 shows the key components of a typical nuclear power plant, and
highlights the location of critical safety equipment such as the emergency
core cooling pumps. Typically, nuclear power plants have emergency safety
systems, including auxiliary feed water (water pumping) systems and
standby emergency diesel generators, for cooling the reactors. Normally
idle, these systems are designed to be activated during any emergency--
such as loss of off-site power--that disrupts the reactor's primary
cooling systems.

Currently, all 103 operating nuclear power plants have active reactor
cores and, along with 14 of the decommissioned plants, maintain on-site
spent nuclear fuel pools. Both the reactor core and the spent fuel must be
cooled to ensure that they are not exposed and do not release lethal
radioactive material. 

NRC licenses, regulates, and inspects the design, construction, and
operation of domestic power plants and nuclear fuel facilities. It has
established regulations for the safe operation of the 103 operational
reactors, and requires nuclear reactors to have multiple safety systems to
control and contain the radioactive materials used in each plant's
operation. NRC also requires licensees to test and maintain safety
equipment to ensure that this equipment, such as a reactor's emergency
cooling system, will operate when needed. 

The Nuclear Energy Institute/Footnote1/ (NEI) has agreed to take the lead
in developing industrywide guidance for addressing the Y2K issue at
nuclear power plants. NEI was also tasked by the North American Electric
Reliability Council (NERC) with monitoring and reporting on the nuclear
power industry's Y2K readiness. The Department of Energy has asked NERC to
assess and report on the Y2K readiness of the electric power industry.

Most U.S. Nuclear Facilities Reported to Be Year 2000 Ready

Last month, NRC reported that 75 of the 103 nuclear power plants were Y2K
ready, and that all of the 103 operational nuclear power plants had
resolved Y2K-related problems that could affect the performance of systems
needed to safely shut down the plants. NRC tracks a plant'sY2K status
based on the readiness of systems in three categories: (1) safety systems,
which can affect plant protection and emergency shutdown, 
(2) plant operating and plant support systems, and (3) site support
systems, such as administrative systems. 

On October 22, 1999, NEI updated the industry's Y2K readiness status and
reported that 101 of the 103 nuclear power plants were Y2K ready.
According to NEI, for the remaining two nuclear power plants--shown in
figure 3--the safety and site support systems are considered to be Y2K
ready. NEI reported that the two plants--Peach Bottom 3 and Farley 
2--still have remediation work to complete on their plant operating and
support systems.

Figure****Helvetica:x11****3:    Two Nuclear Power Plants Reported Not Y2K
                                 Ready as of October 22,
                                 1999
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*****************

Source: NEI.

Table 1 summarizes information provided by NEI on the scope of remediation
work remaining at the two plants classified by NRC as not yet Y2K ready.
The table shows that one of the plants--Peach Bottom 
Unit 3--will complete all remediation by the end of October 1999, while
the second plant--Farley Unit 2--will not be ready until mid-December 1999.

Table****Helvetica:x11****1:    Scheduled Completion Dates for Non-Y2K-
                                Ready Nuclear Power Plants as of October
                                22, 1999

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Licensee      : Plant(s) : Open items                   : Scheduled   |
|               :          :                              : completion  |
|               :          :                              :  date       |
|               :          :                              : (1999)      |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------|
| Plant operating and plant support systems                             |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------|
| Philadelphia  : Peach    : Digital Feedwater System     : October 31  |
| Electric      : Bottom 3 :                              :             |
| Company       :          :                              :             |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------|
|               :          : Turbine Vibration Monitor    : October 31  |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------------|
| Southern      : Farley 2 : Turbine Digital Electro      : December 16 |
| Nuclear       :          : Hydraulic System             :             |
| Operating     :          :                              :             |
| Company       :          :                              :             |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Source: NEI.

NRC is also responsible for nuclear safety at the decommissioned nuclear
power plants operating spent fuel storage facilities. NRC said that it
contacted these plants in early 1999, and at that time the plants reported
either that their systems were Y2K ready or would be in the near term. 

Six of the 10 nuclear fuel facilities reported to NRC that they were Y2K
ready by September 1, 1999. The remaining four facilities have all
provided NRC with status reports and schedules for remaining work,
indicating that they will become Y2K ready by November 1, 1999. All of the
nuclear fuel facilities, with the exception of two gaseous diffusion
plants, have informed NRC that they plan to be shut down during the Year
2000 rollover period.

NRC Is Providing Oversight of Y2K Activities 

Since 1996, NRC has been working with the nuclear power industry--and NEI--
to address Y2K in the nuclear power industry. In December 1996, NRC
notified all nuclear power plants and fuel facilities about the potential
problems that nuclear facility computer systems and software might
encounter during the transition from 1999 to 2000. This notification was
followed in May 1998 by a letter to all operating nuclear power plant
licensees requiring that they submit a written response by July 1999
stating how they planned to address the Y2K problem. 

In 1997, NRC asked NEI to take the lead in developing industrywide
guidance for addressing the Y2K problems faced by the nation's nuclear
power plants. Responding to NRC's request, in October 1997 NEI published
its Y2K guide./Footnote2/ In our comments/Footnote3/ on the NRC Y2K
approach and on NEI's guide, we noted that they did not adequately address
risk management, business continuity and contingency planning, remediation
of embedded systems, and independent verification and validation (IV&V) of
systems. While NEI did not revise its guide in response to our comments,
NRC informed nuclear power plants that the NEI approach and our own Year
2000 assessment guide/Footnote4/ were approaches that plants might want to
follow. NEI later addressed some of the issues we raised regarding its Y2K
guide by issuing another guide/Footnote5/ in August 1998 that focused on
contingency planning and risk management.

Regarding reporting of Y2K readiness, in 1998 NRC required all plants to
report by July 1, 1999, to confirm if their facilities were Y2K ready or
would be by January 1, 2000. This request covered only the safety-related
systems required by the plant license and NRC regulations. In January
1999, NRC expanded this reporting requirement to include plant operating
and plant support and site support systems that, while not addressed by
NRC regulations for safe operation and shutdown, are necessary for
continuity of plant operations. 

In January 1999, NRC completed audits of 12 Y2K programs involving 42 of
the 103 operating nuclear power plants. Areas assessed included software
applications and embedded systems and components. Information obtained
during these assessments indicated that no significant Y2K problems
existed in the plants' systems that would affect their ability to safely
operate and shut down.

In March 1999, NRC expanded the scope of its assessments efforts to
include all 103 operating nuclear power plant sites. NRC administered to
the 103 operational nuclear power plants a 452-question checklist covering
items such as assignment of qualified personnel, testing for critical
dates, and testing and validation of remediated software applications or
embedded components. These assessments, completed by June 30, 1999, found
that 14 of the 103 plants required additional follow-up reviews to more
fully evaluate their Y2K programs. In the follow-up reviews, completed by
August 13, 1999, NRC staff concluded that 13 of the 14 plants' Y2K
programs were consistent with industry guidance. The last plant reported
to NRC that it made its Y2K program consistent with the guidance in
September 1999. 

Regarding the decommissioned nuclear power plants, NRC has not issued
specific Y2K guidance. However, it has notified the 14 plants with spent
fuel on-site that they should follow the NEI Y2K guidance, and report on
their Y2K readiness status. In early 1999, NRC also reviewed readiness
activities at these 14 decommissioned plants that still have nuclear fuel.
Through these reviews, NRC concluded that the licensees are implementing
Y2K changes that address equipment and systems important to safety. At
that time, the licensees reported that their computer systems were Y2K
ready or would be in the near term. However, NRC does not know the current
status for those decommissioned plants that previously reported they were
not ready. Because of the risk posed by the spent fuel facilities at these
sites, we believe that NRC should evaluate and report on the current Y2K
status of these plants.

In June 1998 NRC required nuclear fuel facilities to report by December
31, 1998, whether they were Y2K ready. For facilities expecting to be
ready at some point during 1999, NRC asked for a status report of
remaining work, and another report by July 1, 1999. In addition, between
September 1997 and October 1998, the major fuel facilities were asked Y2K-
related questions during routine inspections. Based on these inspections,
NRC concluded that the facilities were aware of the Y2K problem and were
taking appropriate steps to address it. 

NRC has not required that licensees perform an IV&V of their Y2K programs.
Use of IV&V would provide NRC--and nuclear power plants' and nuclear fuel
facilities' managers--with additional assurance that all critical
applications and systems are Y2K ready. In March 1998, when commenting on
NRC's proposed Y2K approach, we suggested that NRC require licensees to
(1) describe their Y2K plans for IV&V of systems related to safety and (2)
provide the results of IV&V with their written certification of Y2K
readiness. NRC has not included such a requirement in its Y2K instructions
to licensees. In discussing this with NRC officials, they emphasized that
a rigorous quality assurance program exists at each nuclear facility to
review and validate modifications to safety systems. While we recognize
this, such programs do not deal with the broader issue of Y2K testing of
safety systems, or systems supporting plant and site operations. 

Although we were told by NRC that some licensees obtained independent
technical reviews of each nuclear facility's Y2K system test plans and
results, NRC did not have specific, current information identifying the
types of Y2K IV&V reviews performed at nuclear power facilities. NRC noted
that the industry had reported in April 1999 that multiple audits were
completed at 65 of the 66 sites--56 audits by utility quality assurance
departments, 36 by cross-utility audits, and 46 by third parties. However,
neither NRC nor the industry issued guidelines establishing criteria to
ensure consistency of reviews.

In the few months remaining, an opportunity exists for conducting targeted
independent reviews of the licensees' Y2K programs. Since neither NRC nor
NEI's guidance defined the criteria for what constituted an independent
review, it would be of value for NRC to survey the plants to gain an
understanding of what independent Y2K IV&V reviews were completed. Based
on this information, NRC could then identify plants that may need reviews. 

Year 2000 Contingency Plans Developed by All Facilities, But Completion of
Plan Testing Uncertain

For many years, nuclear power plants have had contingency plans to deal
with a wide range of threats, including earthquakes, tornadoes, and
blackouts. Licensees have now had to modify these plans to address the Y2K
threat and its accompanying risks, both internal and external.

NRC officials told us that nuclear power plants are following the
contingency planning process guidance developed by NEI. This NRC-approved
guidance recommended management controls, preparation of individual system
contingency plans, and development of an integrated contingency plan that
allows the utility to manage Y2K-induced risks.

Between May and June 1999, NRC reviewed the contingency planning
activities of 12 operating nuclear power plants, looking at the
implementation of NEI's guidance. All 12 plants' planning activities were
found to be consistent with the guidance, and appropriate management and
oversight was being provided. In light of these results and follow-up
visits, NRC concluded that plants were acceptably implementing industry
guidance, and therefore determined that such detailed reviews focusing
specifically on contingency planning were not necessary at additional
plants. 

Concurrently, NRC had underway its assessment of Y2K readiness at all 
103 plants, as previously discussed. The 452-question checklist NRC was
using for this assessment included 52 questions covering areas of
contingency planning. Such areas included internal and external facility
risks and whether an integrated Y2K contingency plan--a compilation of
individual contingency plans that included the remediation actions planned
for key rollover dates--was developed. Based on these assessments, NRC
reported that all 103 nuclear power plants were using the NRC-approved
industry guidance--guidance that included contingency planning--and that
only one plant (Cooper Nuclear Station) had not yet completed its
integrated contingency plan. NRC verified that this plant has since
completed its plan.

While the nuclear power plants have reportedly completed Y2K contingency
plans, it is unclear as to whether these facilities have validated their
plans. NEI included validation as a step in its contingency planning
process guidance to provide confidence that plans can be executed as
intended. While NRC's assessment at the 103 plants included questions on
whether the nuclear facility validated contingency plans, NRC has not
summarized the results of each question from all plants and therefore does
not know how many plants responded affirmatively that they had indeed
tested their plans. Further, NRC did not assess how the plans were being
validated. 

The need for additional contingency preparation was also raised by public
interest groups, most notably by the Nuclear Information and Resource
Service. In December 1998, this group, concerned about the potential
impact of Y2K problems on nuclear power plants, submitted three related
petitions to NRC. 

The first petition requested that all licensed nuclear facilities be shut
down by December 1, 1999, if their safety systems were not Y2K compliant,
and remain shut down until all repairs were completed. The second petition
requested that NRC require nuclear power plant licensees to conduct a
successful, full-scale emergency planning exercise involving the failure
of computers or digital systems as a result of the Y2K problem, again
asking that plants not doing so be shut down. The third petition asked
that nuclear facilities have operational emergency diesel generators to
provide backup power, that a 60-day supply of fuel for these generators be
available, and that the licensees provide alternate means of backup power
such as solar panels or wind turbines. 

NRC denied all three petitions. While acknowledging the importance of the
Y2K-related matters raised by the petitioners, it concluded that actions
taken by nuclear plant licensees to address Y2K issues, coupled with NRC
oversight, provided reasonable assurance of adequate protection of public
health and safety. In responding on August 23, 1999, to the petition that
NRC require nuclear power plants to conduct emergency planning exercises
that cope with Y2K computer-related failures, NRC stated that this was not
necessary because while the cause of computer and equipment failure may be
different after December 31, 1999, the result and expected response would
be the same as many situations encountered during emergency exercises and
drills in the past. For example, NRC said in this response, it is typical
in the development of scenarios for exercises and drills to assume that
communications links, plant computers, and display and monitoring
equipment will be out of service.

Because of the very nature of nuclear facilities, it is true that plants
are already required by law to follow and maintain tested emergency
plans./Footnote6/ These plans are to provide emergency response
capabilities that take into account a variety of circumstances and
challenges, and the facilities are required to exercise their plans
periodically, develop and maintain key skills of involved personnel,
identify deficiencies in their emergency plans and personnel, and take
appropriate action to correct identified deficiencies. However, it is
unknown whether or not each plant has recently tested, through normal
emergency exercises, scenarios addressing potential Y2K-induced failures.
Therefore, given the known Y2K threat to nuclear facilities, we believe
that NRC should obtain information on the scope and extent of nuclear
power plants' emergency exercises, and whether these exercises have
incorporated Y2K scenarios.

Regarding the nuclear fuel facilities, NRC has not required these
facilities to develop specific Y2K contingency plans. However, 8 of the 10
fuel facilities have informed NRC that they plan to be in safe shutdown
during the transition to Y2K, and NRC inspections at the other two
facilities found their contingency plans to be acceptable. For
decommissioned plants, NRC applied the same requirements for the 14 plants
with spent fuel as it did for the 103 operating plants. NRC could not say
how many of the decommissioned plants completed contingency plans, as the
agency had not reviewed them because NRC staff concluded that Y2K issues
were highly unlikely to cause a potential threat to public health and
safety at such plants. NRC also noted that decommissioned plants have an
extended amount of time to take relatively simple corrective actions
should Y2K failures occur.

Another important area that needs to be addressed is Day One planning.
Each nuclear facility needs to develop a Day One strategy--a comprehensive
set of actions to be executed by nuclear facilities during the last days
of 1999 and the first days of 2000. We have recently issued Day One
planning guidance that the Office of Management and Budget has encouraged
federal agencies to use./Footnote7/ 

No Day One guidance has currently been issued by the industry on what
plants should be doing during the end of December and beginning of January
2000. NRC officials told us that nuclear power plants have taken certain
actions to be ready for the Y2K rollover, such as requiring additional
staffing and stockpiling consumables (i.e., diesel fuel for emergency
diesel generators). However, these do not entail a comprehensive set of
actions to be carried out systematically by every operational nuclear
power plant. The actions that the nuclear power plants and fuel facilities
take during this time will be just as critical as actions already taken to
become Y2K ready. Accordingly, we believe that NRC should ensure that all
nuclear facilities have developed appropriate Day One plans.

Little Is Known About Worldwide Year 2000 Readiness of Nuclear Power Plants

Little current data are available on the Y2K readiness of the 331 nuclear
power plants operating outside the United States. Figure 4 shows that 31
other countries besides the United States are operating nuclear power
plants. Nine of these countries have more than 10 nuclear plants each, for
a total of 252 plants. The remaining 22 countries each have 10 or fewer,
for a total of 79 plants. Figure 5 shows the location of operational
nuclear power plants worldwide.

Figure****Helvetica:x11****4:    Ten Largest Nuclear Power Producers
                                 Worldwide
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Source: International Atomic Energy Agency.

Figure****Helvetica:x11****5:    Location of Nuclear Power Plants
                                 Worldwide
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Source: International Nuclear Safety Center, Argonne National Laboratory.

What information is available suggests that several other countries are
taking steps to ready their nuclear power plants for the change of
century. For example, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has
been working with its 128 member states to ensure that they are informed
of the Y2K problem. The agency has published guidelines for its members'
use in addressing safety and operability concerns, and has sponsored
international workshops in January and July of this year to provide
assistance to members on the challenge of the Y2K issue. Based on
information exchanged at these workshops, several countries reported that
they were on their way to readying their nuclear power plants for 2000. 

Similarly, the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) has been working with its 
27 member countries/Footnote8/--representing 85 percent of the world's
nuclear power capacity--to ensure awareness of nuclear safety during the
transition to 2000. In February 1999, during NEA's workshop on the impact
of Y2K on the nuclear industry, some participants--including those from
Canada, France, Japan, Spain, and Sweden--reported that most of their
plants would be Y2K ready by July 1999. 

However, other countries appear to be behind the United States. For
example, the Russian representatives at the NEA workshop noted that their
State Regulatory Authorities of Nuclear Energy and the Federal Nuclear and
Radiation Authority of Russia were still studying the impact of Y2K on the
nuclear power industry. They also noted that some facilities and
organizations do not probably fully appreciate the impact of Y2K on the
nuclear power industry for their nuclear facilities. 

Similar concerns were raised by the National Intelligence Officer for
Science and Technology during a hearing earlier this month./Footnote9/
Testifying on the intelligence community's assessment of foreign Y2K
efforts, he noted that both Russia and the Ukraine are particularly
vulnerable to Y2K failures. He further noted that they got a late start in
remediation and lack sufficient resources to identify and correct
problems, and that the areas of greatest risk include the electric power
grid and nuclear power plants.

It should be noted that NRC--with cooperation from NEA and IAEA--is
developing a prototype of an international Y2K early warning system. This
Internet-based system would be used by NRC and other regulators to share
information concerning Y2K problems that affect plant operation,
telecommunications, or grid reliability. To date, this effort includes
mainly Canada, Europe, Mexico, and Far Eastern countries.

In summary, while progress has been made in making the nation's nuclear
power plants and fuel processing facilities Y2K ready, some risk remains.
At particular risk are the two plants that do not yet have their nonsafety
systems ready, especially the one with a completion date scheduled for
more than 30 days from now, ever closer to the turn of the century.
Similarly, the four nuclear fuel facilities that were not Y2K ready by
September 1, 1999, raise concern. Likewise, not knowing the current Y2K
status of all 14 decommissioned plants with spent fuel also raises
concern. Finally, the lack of information on two key issues--independent
reviews of Y2K testing and emergency Y2K exercises--and the lack of
requirements for Day One planning increases the Y2K risk to the nuclear
power industry.

To further reduce risks, NRC and the nuclear power industry can still take
specific actions to ensure Y2K-related plant safety. First, NRC should
evaluate and report on the Y2K status of all decommissioned plants with
spent fuel status that previously reported they were not Y2K ready.
Second, NRC should survey the 103 operational nuclear power plants to gain
an understanding of what independent reviews were completed. Based on this
information, NRC could then identify plants that may need additional
reviews. Third, it should obtain information on the scope and extent of
nuclear power plants' emergency exercises, and whether these exercises
have incorporated Y2K scenarios. Finally, NRC should ensure that all
nuclear facilities have developed Day One plans.

Ms. Chairwoman, Mr. Chairman, this concludes our statement. We would be
happy to respond to any questions that you or other members of the
Subcommittees may have at this time.

Contact and Acknowledgments

For information about this testimony, please contact Joel Willemssen at
(202) 512-6253 or Keith A. Rhodes at (202) 512-6412, or by e-mail at
willemssenj.aimd@gao.gov or rhodesk.aimd@gao.gov. Individuals making key
contributions to this testimony included Mirko Dolak, Troy Hottovy,
William Isrin, Janet Jamison, and Michael Tovares.

(511799)

--------------------------------------
/Footnote1/-^NEI is a policy organization of the nuclear industry that
  seeks to foster and encourage the safe utilization of nuclear energy.
/Footnote2/-^Nuclear Utility Year 2000 Readiness (NEI/NUSMG 97-07, October
  1997). 
/Footnote3/-^Year 2000 Readiness: NRC's Proposed Approach Regarding
  Nuclear Powerplants (GAO/AIMD-98-90R, March 6, 1998).
/Footnote4/-^Year 2000 Computing Crisis: An Assessment Guide (GAO/AIMD-
  10.1.14, September 1997; initially published as an exposure draft in
  February 1997).
/Footnote5/-^Nuclear Utility Year 2000 Readiness Contingency Planning
  (NEI/NUSMG 98-07, August 1998). 
/Footnote6/-^10 CFR 50.47, 10 CFR 50.54 paragraphs (q), (s), and (t); and
  Appendix E to 10 CFR Part 50.
/Footnote7/-^Y2K Computing Challenge: Day One Planning and Operations
  Guide (GAO/AIMD-10.1.22, October 1999).
/Footnote8/-^Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic,
  Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland,
  Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway,
  Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and
  the United States. 
/Footnote9/-^Statement of Lawrence K. Gershwin, National Intelligence
  Officer for Science and Technology, National Intelligence Council,
  before the Senate Special Committee on the Year 2000 Technology Problem,
  October 13, 1999.

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