The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has authorized its staff to issue immediately effective Orders to U.S. commercial nuclear reactors. This action begins implementation of several recommendations for enhancing safety at U.S. reactors based on lessons learned from the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Two of the Orders apply to every U.S. commercial nuclear power plant, including those under construction and the recently licensed new Vogtle reactors.
The first Order requires the plants to better protect safety equipment installed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and to obtain sufficient equipment to support all reactors at a given site simultaneously.
The second Order requires the plants to install enhanced equipment for monitoring water levels in each plant’s spent fuel pool.
The third Order applies only to U.S. boiling-water reactors that have "Mark I" or "Mark II" containment structures. These reactors must improve venting systems (or for the Mark II plants, install new systems) that help prevent or mitigate core damage in the event of a serious accident.
Plants have until Dec. 31, 2016, to complete modifications and requirements of all three OrdersThe NRC will also issue a detailed information request to every operating U.S. commercial nuclear power plant, and certain parts will apply to reactors currently under construction or recently licensed.
The request covers several topics, including: