Nuclear Regulatory Commission allows increase in Hope Creek emergency generator outage time from 72 hours to 14 days

Friends:

As of March 25, 2011, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has modified the Hope Creek I Facility Operating License to allow some Emergency Diesel Generators (EDGs) to be out of service for 14 days rather than 72 hours.

I’ve posted the document here.

“The amendment revises the TSs to extend the allowed outage time for the A and B emergency diesel generators from 72 hours to 14 days.”

This is interesting considering that the Hope Creek reactor is of the same type and containment as the Japanese Daiichi reactors that have melted down and belched radiation due to (among other things) failure of the EDG’s combined with failure of offsite power.

Calculated increases in the probability of meltdowns, radiation releases, etc are on page 20 of the document (ADAMS Accession No.: ML110610501):

  • large early release frequency        2.36E-8/year
  • incremental conditional core damage probability                 2.34E-7 (EDG A), 4.26E-7 (EDG B) [NRC “acceptance criteria” are 5.0 E-7]
  • core damage frequency                  3.44E-7/year
  • incremental conditional large early release probability         1.27E-9 (EDG A), 4.41 E-8 (EDG B) [NRC “acceptance criteria” are 5.0 E-7]

In plain language, the NRC admits that danger will increase from this change, but considers the increase “small” and acceptable.

At page 22 it is stated:

“In accordance with the Commission’s regulations, the New Jersey State Official was notified of the proposed issuance of the amendment. The State official had no comments.”

As far as we can see from the NRC documents, the underlying purpose of this is to allow overhauls of the generators while the plant is running, rather than having to do them while the reactor is shut down for refueling or for some other reason. This change was in progress before the catastrophe in Japan and the NRC bureaucracy is just chugging along, oblivious to most all but the desires of the nuke industry.

Can the NRC really be this out-of-touch?  Yes…..

Regards,

Alan Muller
Green Delaware

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