Skip to main content

Vogtle First to Implement New Voluntary Rule Allowing Improved Safety Focus

The following guest post comes from Victoria Anderson, senior project manager for risk assessment at NEI.

Since the NRC published the Probabilistic Risk Assessment Policy Statement in 1995, both the industry and NRC have worked to use risk information to better focus implementation of regulations at our country’s nuclear reactors. Risk information has helped advance maintenance efforts, routine inspections and testing procedures to ensure that licensees direct resources to the equipment and practices that are most important to safe, reliable operation of their plants.

In one such effort, in 2004, the NRC published a voluntary rule – 10 CFR 50.69, Risk-informed categorization and treatment of structures, systems and components for nuclear power reactors – that would allow licensees to refocus their equipment special treatment requirements on the structures, systems and components that are the most important to protecting the plant. Specifically, licensees implementing this voluntary rule are able to improve safety focus on important equipment identified in evaluations, while gaining operational flexibility by moving some equipment with very low safety impact to commercial treatment, rather than enhanced treatment.

Vogtle Electric Generating Plant
Last Wednesday marked a major advancement in risk informed regulation, as Plant Vogtle in Burke County, GA received an NRC safety evaluation report allowing them to implement 10 CFR 50.69 at its site. As the pilot plant for this effort, Southern will be the first utility to use the provisions of this rule to ensure that key plant programs are structured to focus plant attention on equipment most important to safe operations.

In particular, Vogtle will be able to take a graded approach to treatment of its equipment in various programs, including equipment qualification, testing and procurement, such that requirements for these programs are commensurate with the safety significance of the equipment. The personnel involved in these aspects of plant operations have been working through program development and training for over two years, and are well-positioned to support an efficient roll-out of the 10 CFR 50.69 program at Vogtle.

Thanks to Southern’s hard work on the pilot effort, facilitated by support from the NRC, the nuclear energy industry expects that several additional plants will follow Southern’s lead and use the insights and lessons learned from the pilot to pursue implementation of 10 CFR 50.69. This is just one of the many ways that utilities continually integrate the latest information and practices to operate our fleet more and more efficiently while maintaining safe operations.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Making Clouds for a Living

Donell Banks works at Southern Nuclear’s Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4 as a shift supervisor in Operations, but is in the process of transitioning to his newly appointed role as the daily work controls manager. He has been in the nuclear energy industry for about 11 years.

I love what I do because I have the unique opportunity to help shape the direction and influence the culture for the future of nuclear power in the United States. Every single day presents a new challenge, but I wouldn't have it any other way. As a shift supervisor, I was primarily responsible for managing the development of procedures and programs to support operation of the first new nuclear units in the United States in more than 30 years. As the daily work controls manager, I will be responsible for oversight of the execution and scheduling of daily work to ensure organizational readiness to operate the new units.

I envision a nuclear energy industry that leverages the technology of today to improve efficiency…

Nuclear: Energy for All Political Seasons

The electoral college will soon confirm a surprise election result, Donald Trump. However, in the electricity world, there are fewer surprises – physics and economics will continue to apply, and Republicans and Democrats are going to find a lot to like about nuclear energy over the next four years.

In a Trump administration, the carbon conversation is going to be less prominent. But the nuclear value proposition is still there. We bring steady jobs to rural areas, including in the Rust Belt, which put Donald Trump in office. Nuclear plants keep the surrounding communities vibrant.

We hold down electricity costs for the whole economy. We provide energy diversity, reducing the risk of disruption. We are a critical part of America’s industrial infrastructure, and the importance of infrastructure is something that President-Elect Trump has stressed.

One of our infrastructure challenges is natural gas pipelines, which have gotten more congested as extremely low gas prices have pulled m…

Innovation Fuels the Nuclear Legacy: Southern Nuclear Employees Share Their Stories

Blake Bolt and Sharimar Colon are excited about nuclear energy. Each works at Southern Nuclear Co. and sees firsthand how their ingenuity powers the nation’s largest supply of clean energy. For Powered by Our People, they shared their stories of advocacy, innovation in the workplace and efforts to promote efficiency. Their passion for nuclear energy casts a bright future for the industry.

Blake Bolt has worked in the nuclear industry for six years and is currently the work week manager at Hatch Nuclear Plant in Georgia. He takes pride in an industry he might one day pass on to his children.

What is your job and why do you enjoy doing it?
As a Work Week Manager at Plant Hatch, my primary responsibility is to ensure nuclear safety and manage the risk associated with work by planning, scheduling, preparing and executing work to maximize the availability and reliability of station equipment and systems. I love my job because it enables me to work directly with every department on the plant…