NRC Seeks Comments on Proposed Rule to Ensure Mitigation of Severe Reactor Accidents

Among other things, it would require plant operators to maintain resources and procedures to cool a reactor's core and spent fuel pool, as well as preserve the reactor's containment, following an event that disables all a/c electrical power sources at a site.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission published a proposed rule Nov. 13 that is based on lessons learned from the March 2011 accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and is intended to ensure U.S. operators of commercial nuclear power plants can mitigate severe reactor accidents. The proposed rule builds on orders NRC issued in March 2012.

The rule would require U.S. commercial reactors to:

  • Maintain resources and procedures to cool a reactor's core and spent fuel pool, as well as preserve the reactor's containment, following an event that disables all a/c electrical power sources at a site.
  • Maintain equipment that can reliably measure spent fuel pool water levels after a severe event.
  • Establish requirements for an integrated response capability, including command and control, drills, and training.
  • Enhance requirements for on-site emergency response capabilities.

The rule consolidates information from two earlier NRC rulemaking processes involving station blackout mitigating strategies and on-site emergency response and is based on recommendations from a task force of senior NRC managers who examined the lessons from the Fukushima disaster. NSC is accpeting comments until Feb. 11, 2016; submit them by visiting www.regulations.gov and searching for Docket ID NRC-2014-0240.

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