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NRC to increase oversight of Pilgrim nuclear power plant

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it is increasing oversight of the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Massachusetts.

According to an NRC blog, the commission updated its indicator data for the third and fourth quarters of 2013 and determined that the plant needed additional scrutiny. The indicators cover such areas as the number of unplanned shutdowns or scrams, emergency siren functionality and the effectiveness of radiological controls.

Based on the indicator data for the 3Q and 4Q, Pilgrim’s performance indicators for Unplanned Scrams with Complications and Unplanned Scrams per 7,000 Hours of Operation shifted from “green” to “white.” The plant also moved from the NRC’s Licensee Response Column – or normal oversight – to the Regulatory Response Column. The fourth quarter updates moved the plant to the Degraded Cornerstone Column of the Action Matrix, resulting in even more inspections.

“Two Performance Indicators related to an increased number of unplanned plant shutdowns over the past year crossed the green/white threshold and shows the company needs to focus greater attention on understanding why this trend is occurring,” said Neil Sheehan, NRC spokesperson, in the blog.

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