Caption: Southern Co.'s Plant Vogtle nuclear power plant
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said that 94 U.S. nuclear reactors ended 2014 operating in the two highest performance categories.
Of the 94 high-performance reactors, 75 fully met all safety and security performance objectives and were inspected using the “baseline” inspection program. This group includes Entergy (NYSE: ETR)’s Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, which shut down at the end of 2014.
The remaining 19 reactors needed to resolve one or two items of low safety significance. These plants are: Calvert Cliffs 2 (Maryland); Clinton (Illinois); Davis-Besse (Ohio); Diablo Canyon 1 and 2 (California); Fermi 2 (Michigan); Fitzpatrick (New York); Limerick 1 and 2 (Pennsylvania); Millstone 3 (Connecticut); Oconee 1 (South Carolina); Oyster Creek (New Jersey); Palisades (Michigan); Point Beach 2 (Wisconsin); River Bend (Louisiana); Salem 1 (New Jersey); St. Lucie 1 (Florida); Waterford (Louisiana) and Wolf Creek (Kansas). Fermi, Oyster Creek and Wolf Creek have resolved their issues since the reporting period ended and have transitioned to the highest performing level.
Three reactors had a degraded level of performance, so regulatory oversight includes more inspections, senior management attention and oversight focused on the cause of the degraded performance. These plants were Monticello (Minnesota); Pilgrim (Massachusetts) and Point Beach 1 (Wisconsin). Monticello has resolved some of its issues since the reporting period ended and transitioned to the second-highest performing level.
Two reactors, Arkansas Nuclear One 1 and 2, were in the fourth performance category, requiring increased oversight because of two safety findings of substantial significance. NRC issued “yellow” findings at the plant due to a fatal accident and two flood protection violations.
The Fort Calhoun nuclear plant in Nebraska is under a special NRC oversight program and does not receive an annual assessment letter. The NRC oversight panel cleared the unit in December 2013 to resume operations after an extended shutdown, but it remains under the special program until the panel and NRC senior management approves returning it to regular oversight.
NRC also assessed construction projects at the Watts Bar 2, Vogtle and Summer nuclear plants, saying they all met NRC requirements. For more on the Summer and Vogtle assessments, click here. For the Watts Bar 2 assessment, click here.
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