United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Fire Protection Program for Operating Reactors

The NRC's fire protection regulations, inspections, and research activities focus on:

Prevention
Minimizing the
potential for fires and
explosions

Suppression
Rapidly detecting,
controlling and
extinguishing fires
that do occur
Safe Shutdown
Ensuring operators
can shut down the
reactor safely despite
a fire

The NRC requires a robust fire protection program at every commercial nuclear power plant in the United States to ensure the reactor facilities operate safely. Plants can choose between two approaches for managing their fire safety: deterministic fire protection or risk-informed, performance-based fire protection. These approaches apply the concept of defense-in-depth to meet fire protection objectives. The image below depicts several of the fire protection requirements currently in place.

An artist's rendering of the components which make up the Fire Protection Program for Operating Reactors
An image rendering of the components which make up the Fire Protection Program for Operating Reactors with the word PREVENTION and highlighting the 3 areas of prevention: Training and Fire Drills; NRC Inspections and Fire Marshall
An image rendering of the components which make up the Fire Protection Program for Operating Reactors with the word SUPPRESSION and highlighting the areas of Suppression: Offsite Support; Onsite Fire Brigade; Fire Protection Loop (water tanks, hydrants, natural water supply); Automatic Fixed Suppression (Fire Sprinklers, foam, etc.); Detection (Fire Detectors, Video Surveilance, etc.)
An image rendering of the components which make up the Fire Protection Program for Operating Reactors with the word SAFE SHUTDOWN and highlighting the areas of Safe Shutdown: Backup Power Supply; Wrapped Cabling, Redundant Safety Pumps, and Separation (Fire Walls)

For further information related to NRC's fire protection activities, see the following pages:

To top of page

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, January 13, 2014