The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued annual letters to the 100 operating U.S. commercial nuclear power plants operating in 2014 regarding annual performance. There were 94 plants in in the two highest performance categories and 75 plants inspected by the NRC fully met all safety and security “Baseline” performance objectives.
Bill Dean, Director of NRC Regulation stated, “Our goal in issuing these letters is to ensure that all of our stakeholders clearly understand the basis for our assessments of plant performance, our future inspection plans, and the actions we are taking to address any notable deficiencies.”
Seventeen reactors were assessed as still needing to resolve one or two items of “low safety significance.” Regulatory oversight includes additional inspection and follow-up of corrective actions include: Diablo Canyon 1 and 2 (California); Calvert Cliffs 2 (Maryland); Clinton (Illinois); Davis-Besse (Ohio); Fermi 2 (Michigan); Fitzpatrick (New York); Limerick 1 and 2 (Pennsylvania); Millstone 3 (Connecticut); Oconee 1 (South Carolina); Palisades (Michigan); Point Beach 2 (Wisconsin); River Bend (Louisiana.); Salem 1 (New Jersey); St. Lucie 1 (Florida); and Waterford (Louisiana).
Three nuclear reactors including Monticello (Minnesota); Pilgrim (Massachusetts) and Point Beach 1 (Wisconsin) were considered at a “degraded level” of performance and continue to be subject to additional NRC inspections and senior management oversight.
The two reactors at Arkansas Nuclear One 1 and 2 had negative safety findings of “substantial significance.” NRC oversight will include several additional inspections and frequent direct NRC management involvement.
The Fort Calhoun plant in Nebraska is currently under a special NRC oversight program because of an extended shutdown associated with “significant performance issues.” In December 2013, the NRC oversight panel cleared the unit to resume operations, but the plant will remain under special oversight.
Every six months each plant receives either a mid-cycle or annual assessment letter along with an NRC inspection plan.
On October 29, Breitbart reported in ‘Obama Triangulates, Okays Some Nuclear Power’ that increasing nuclear power is somewhat favored by 58% of Republicans and independents, but still heavily disfavored by 62% of Democrats. Few Americans realize that “nuclear power accounted for 20% of total power sector electricity generation in 2013.”
One reason the percentage is so high is that nuclear power is considered by the U.S. Department of Energy to be 64% of America’s “emission-free” electrical generation and represents a third of U.S. industrial voluntary carbon dioxide reductions since 1993.
The Obama Administration more conciliatory view of nuclear power seems to be the “type of balanced, pro-jobs, and pro-environment approach favored by independent voters that may help Democrat candidates in 2016.