PR-99-31 Eight Sites As Pilots For New Processes

United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Office of Public Affairs
Washington, DC 20555
Phone 301-415-8200   Fax 301-415-2234
Internet:opa@nrc.gov

  No. 99-31       FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
        (Monday, February 22, 1999)


 NRC SELECTS NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS AT EIGHT SITES AS PILOTS
 FOR NEW INSPECTION, ASSESSMENT AND ENFORCEMENT PROCESSES


 The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has selected nuclear power plants at
 eight sites throughout the country to begin phasing in its new
 inspection, assessment and enforcement processes during a six-month pilot
 program beginning June 1.

 The pilot plant sites are (1) Hope Creek and Salem 1 and 2, near
 Wilmington, Delaware, operated by Public Service Electric & Gas; (2)
 Fitzpatrick, near Oswego, New York, operated by the Power Authority of
 the State of New York; (3) Shearon Harris, near Raleigh, North Carolina,
 operated by Carolina Power & Light Co. (4) Sequoyah 1 and 2, near
 Chattanooga, Tennessee, operated by the Tennessee Valley Authority; (5)
 Prairie Island 1 and 2, near Minneapolis, Minnesota, operated by Northern
 States Power Co.; (6) Quad Cities 1 and 2, near Moline, Illinois,
 operated by Commonwealth Edison Co.; (7) Ft. Calhoun, near Omaha,
 Nebraska, operated by the Omaha Public Power District; and (8) Cooper,
 near Nebraska City, Nebraska, operated by the Nebraska Public Power
 District.

 The new  program that will be tested at these plants will include a
 baseline of inspections common to all nuclear plants.  Inspections that
 go beyond the baseline will be performed when  performance drops below a
 specified threshold.  Additional inspections may be done in response to a
 specific event or problem.

  This new program reflects improvements in the safety, reliability and
  performance of the nuclear power industry over the past 20 years,  as
  well as the agency's need to regulate the industry effectively with a
  smaller staff and budget using risk insights in the inspection and
  assessment process.   The NRC is therefore moving to measure nuclear
  power plant performance using a combination of objective indicators, as
  well as findings from an  inspection program that will focus on plant
  activities most important to safety and minimizing risk.  

  NRC staff worked closely with the nuclear industry to select plants for
  the pilot program, using the following criteria:

  * To the maximum extent possible, licensees were chosen that had either
  volunteered to participate, or that had participated in an industry task
  group that worked with NRC in designing regulatory oversight process
  improvements.  A number of different licensees were chosen to maximize
  industry exposure during the pilot program.

  * Plants were chosen to represent a broad spectrum of performance
  levels.  Plants in extended shutdowns because of performance issues were
  not considered.

  * Plants also were selected to provide a mix of both pressurized-water
  reactors and boiling-water reactors, a combination of nuclear steam
  supply systems and a variety of plant ages.

  * To the extent possible, two plants that had different performance
  levels were chosen within each region.

  * NRC considered regional office concerns, such as the agency staff*s
  experience with the pilot plants, and such transition issues as the
  expected departure of key NRC personnel during the pilot study.  Also
  considered were such matters as licensee involvement with other
  significant NRC activities like license renewal and steam generator
  replacement.

    These criteria, and potential candidate plants, were discussed with
    the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear industry*s policy
    organization.  Utilities which operate all of the candidate plants
    selected by NRC agreed to participate in the pilot program.   Upon
    successful completion of the pilot program, NRC plans to fully
    implement a new oversight process in January 2000. 

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