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Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 22-012 March 16, 2022
CONTACT: Scott Burnell, 301-415-8200
 
NRC Issues Findings from NIST Reactor Event Special Inspection
 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has released its initial conclusions from its special inspection at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s non-power reactor in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The NRC launched the inspection in February 2021, a few days after an event during startup of the reactor damaged a reactor fuel element and released radioactive material. The agency issued an interim inspection report in April 2021.
 
The inspectors examined independent analyses of the radiation release and concluded that public health and safety was maintained – any potential dose to the public, while unlikely, would have been a very small fraction of regulatory limits. The inspectors also concluded that doses to the reactor facility staff during the event were well below regulatory limits.
 
During the inspection, NRC inspectors reviewed NIST’s records from the event, the facility staff’s response, NIST’s root cause analysis, proposed corrective actions and related documentation. They also interviewed NIST staff and management regarding the event and related matters. The inspection found seven apparent violations of NRC requirements, including five violations related to exceeding the fuel temperature safety limit and damaging a fuel element. Other apparent violations are related to emergency planning and equipment modification.
 
If finalized at their current level, the findings could result in a civil penalty. After reviewing the NRC inspection report, NIST can accept the NRC’s findings, provide additional information in writing or during a regulatory conference, or request alternative dispute resolution. The NRC will consider all available information before making a final determination and document the decision in publicly available correspondence. The report notes several items planned for NRC follow-up. These items will be assessed in supplemental NRC inspections and documented in subsequent inspection reports.
 
Since the event violated the fuel temperature safety limit, the NRC must formally approve any restart of the reactor, which NIST has requested. The NRC will only consider authorizing restart after the agency has completed reviewing the restart request and has determined that sufficient corrective actions have been implemented to ensure that the facility will be operated safely by the licensee. Increased NRC oversight of the NIST facility will continue after any restart has been authorized.
 
SUBJECT:  Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 And 2 Regulatory Audit Plan In Support Of License Amendment Request To Revise Technical Specifications For Reactor Steam Dome Pressure Low Instrumentation Function Allowable Values (EPID L-2021-LLA-0062)  
 
ADAMS Accession No.  ML22056A012 
 
  
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SUBJECT:  Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Units 1 and 2 - Request for Withholding Information from Public Disclosure (EPID L-2022-LLA-0005)
 
ADAMS Accession No.  ML22041A441
 
 
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Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, Unit 1 - Post-Approval Site Inspection for License Renewal - Phase 2 Inspection Report 05000387/2022011
 
ADAMS Accession No.  ML22066B013
 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: 22-010 March 3, 2022
CONTACT: David McIntyre, 301-415-8200
 
NRC Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Rule for Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants
 
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking public comment on a proposed rule to amend agency regulations for nuclear power plants transitioning from operations to decommissioning.
 
The proposed rule was published today in the Federal Register. Comments will be accepted for 75 days, through May 17. The proposed rule and related documents are also available on the NRC website, with information about upcoming public meetings to present the proposed rule and receive public comments. Two online public meetings will be held March 21 at 1 p.m., Eastern time and March 31 at 4 p.m., Eastern time. Additional public meetings may be added during the comment period.
 
Current NRC regulations establish safety requirements for the commercial operation of nuclear power plants. These regulations do not have separate requirements for the significantly lower safety hazards associated with a permanently shut down and defueled reactor undergoing decommissioning. As a result, the NRC has allowed incremental changes to various requirements, including emergency preparedness, through exemptions and license amendments. The proposed rule would implement specific regulatory requirements for different phases of the decommissioning process, consistent with the reduced risk.
 
The proposed regulation would incorporate lessons learned from plants that have recently transitioned to decommissioning and improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the regulatory framework.
 
“NRC maintains its rigorous oversight of the decommissioning process from start to finish. said NRC Chairman Christopher T. Hanson. “Seeking and reviewing public comments will further inform the development of the rule to ensure it is protective of public health and safety.”
 
When the Commission approved the rule in November, Hanson emphasized the importance of public participation in the rulemaking process, noting that the agency sought public comment twice in the years the proposed rule was under development.
 
Comments can be submitted over the federal government’s rulemaking website, www.regulations.gov, using Docket ID NRC-2015-0070; sent by email to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov; or directly mailed to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemakings and Adjudications Staff.
 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: I-22-003 March 2, 2022
CONTACT: Diane Screnci, 610-337-5330
Neil Sheehan, 610-337-5331
 
NRC Proposes $25,600 Fine for Pennsylvania Company
 
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has proposed a $25,600 civil penalty to a Pennsylvania company for performing work in West Virginia without obtaining approval from the NRC.
 
Steel City Gamma LLC, based in Daisytown (Washington County), Pennsylvania, conducted industrial radiography activities on Dec. 18, 2019, and between Jan. 1, 2020, and April 9, 2020, at a facility in Pleasant Valley, West Virginia.
 
Based on an investigation conducted between April 21, 2020, and March 1, 2021, the NRC’s Office of Investigations determined that SCG did not abide by the applicable requirements, including performing the work without a license from Pennsylvania when it was amended to possession and storage only. In addition, the investigation found that the company’s then-owner engaged in deliberate misconduct by knowingly violating regulations pertaining to reciprocity.
 
On Feb. 3, 2022, the NRC Region I Office conducted a predecisional enforcement conference with SCG to discuss the violations, causes and corrective actions. During this conference, the company’s current owner acknowledged that SCG committed the violations. As a result, the NRC is proposing the fine and a Severity Level II violation. The agency is also issuing an order prohibiting the firm’s former owner from participating in NRC-licensed activities for five years because of deliberate misconduct.
 
The violations did not result in any actual safety or security consequences.
 
“The failure to follow NRC requirements prior to using NRC-licensed materials is unacceptable,” said NRC Region I Administrator David Lew. “We cannot permit any violations of NRC regulations to interfere with the protection of public health and safety.”
 
Industrial radiography involves the use of a device containing nuclear material to check for cracks or flaws in materials that would not otherwise be visible. Applications can include the testing and grading of welds on pressurized piping, high-capacity storage containers and pipelines.
 
As an NRC “Agreement State,” Pennsylvania oversees the use of nuclear materials within its borders that would otherwise be regulated by the NRC. Under a reciprocity requirement, if Agreement State-licensed materials are used in a state where nuclear materials are regulated by the NRC, including West Virginia, approval must first be obtained from the agency.
 
The firm, which no longer has a nuclear materials license from Pennsylvania, will have 30 days to provide a written response, which must include steps it has taken or plans to take to address the issue.
 
SUBJECT:  Peach Bottom Nuclear Plant, Unit Nos. 2 And 3-Site Walkdown For The Review Of Plant Information To Perform A Risk Analysis In Accordance With LIC-504, Integrated Risk-Informed Decisionmaking For Emergent Issues, Regarding High Energy Arcing Faults
 
ADAMS Accession No.  ML22039A075
 
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