NEI responds to AP article

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) said an Associated Press report criticizing U.S. nuclear power plant safety has "factual errors, does not cite relevant reports on safety that contradict the reporting and raises questions about historic operating issues while ignoring recent improved performance in the areas it examines."

NEI said the news article also did not note the amount of time, money and manpower that the industry and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) devote independently to aging management and long-term plant reliability.

In the article published June 20, the AP references issues which it said were found in facilities, such as failed cables, broken nozzles and seals. The article said no official body in government or industry keeps track of the overall frequency and potential impact on safety of such breakdowns. The NEI disputed that, saying the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations maintains a database of operating issues and tracks and trends them. Every nuclear power plant operator has access to that information.

The NEI also said that nuclear power plants replace and repair equipment and components, such as pumps, valves and piping, throughout their operational life. NEI said the industry invested $6.5 billion in 2009 (the last year for which data is available) to replace steam generators and reactor vessel heads, in the equipment modifications necessary to uprate the plants, and in other capital projects. Capital expenditures in this area have increased annually since 2005.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission also responded to the AP article, saying that through its own inspections, many nuclear power plants have improved operations.

To read the entire NEI statement, click here.

To read the NRC¹s response, click here.

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