Nuclear, O&M, Reactors

NRC requests earthquake risk re-evaluations from 21 U.S. reactors

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) set a priority list for detailed earthquake risk analysis for more than 20 U.S. reactors.

NRC reviewed updated seismic hazard information for 59 operating reactors and the unfinished Bellefonte reactor site in the central and eastern U.S. The sites submitted the information as part of the implementation of lessons learned from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The submittals showed that the plants are safe for continued operation while more work is done.

Out of the 59 reactors, 21 will need to conduct additional in-depth analysis of their updated earthquake risk. The priority list is based on several factors that deal with how a site’s quake hazard transmits energy at frequencies that can affect a plant’s structures, pipes, pumps and related safety systems. The plants have until December 2014 to complete an “expedited approach” review to evaluate and reinforce key core cooling equipment to ensure plants could safely shutdown if an earthquake were to occur at higher seismic ground motion. If they do not take the expedited approach, some have until either 2017 or 2019 to submit their reports. For a list of all the affected reactors, click here.

Columbia, Diablo Canyon and Palo Verde nuclear plants must submit their new hazard estimates in March 2015.

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