Nuclear, O&M, Reactors

NRC continues oversight of Monticello nuclear power plant

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said it will continue increased oversight of the Monticello nuclear power plant in Minnesota.

NRC staff said that, despite another inspection finding at the plant and recent performance improvements, it is still necessary to put the plant in the category with plants that have multiple and systemic performance issues.

Monticello has been in Column 3 of NRC’s performance matrix since 2013 due to a yellow finding related to weaknesses in the external flooding strategy. The results of both inspections demonstrated that the plant has taken effective actions to resolve the issues and indicate a reversal in negative trends that led to the violation. This finding, in addition to the yellow finding, would normally move the plant into Column 4. A move to another column results in an increased level of NRC oversight and inspections. If the NRC loses confidence in the plant’s ability to perform safely, the plant will shut down and move to column 5.

On Feb. 26, the NRC issued Monticello a greater than green security finding identified in the fourth quarter of 2014. The plant has since corrected the situation.

NRC will deviate from its normal process and place Monticello in Column 2 of the performance action matrix based on the fact that the flooding issue has been resolved; there have been no recent indications of new significant problems; and improvements in performance. The greater than green security finding warrants a follow-up inspection, which will take place after the plant has had the opportunity to address the issues that caused the incident. In addition, the NRC will also perform an inspection focused on persistent human performance concerns at the plant.

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