The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has placed 14 nuclear reactors on its watch list(emthe highest number in about 10 years(emdue to safety problems. The plant were placed on the watch list by senior NRC managers at their semi-annual performance review of operating nuclear plants and fuel-cycle facilities.
The NRC also sent a letter to Commonwealth Edison asking the utility to explain why it should be allowed to operate six nuclear units at three of its nuclear plants that are on the list. Commonwealth is improving performance at each site. The utility must list established criteria used to measure its performance in light of NRC's concerns and discuss proposed actions if those criteria are not met.
The Nuclear Energy Institute has responded to the NRC's expanded list by noting that the nuclear industry as a whole is performing at unprecedented levels of safety and reliability.
NEI President and CEO Joe F. Colvin said, "The NRC's discussions today could leave the unfortunate impression that all U.S. nuclear power plants are operating below their current record levels of safety." He added that, "The agency's decisions that some nuclear power plants warrant additional regulatory attention are based on subjective criteria, not on objective measures applied with consistency."