The NRC’s Regulatory Framework (Recommendation 1)
The NRC requires U.S. nuclear power plants to be designed and built to safely withstand a set of unlikely but harmful events such as equipment failure, pipe breaks, and severe weather; these are called design-basis requirements. The nuclear power plants at Fukushima experienced flooding and seismic events that went beyond the design-basis levels set by the Japanese regulator. The NRC's Near Term Task Force, in their examination of the Fukushima event, recognized that the NRC's design-basis requirements needed to be enhanced to deal with events that are very unlikely but beyond the current design-basis requirements. As a result, the task force recommended that the NRC establish a logical, systematic, and coherent regulatory framework that appropriately balances multiple layers of protection and risk considerations to deal with events beyond the current NRC design basis.
In December 2013, the NRC staff proposed three improvement activities in response to Recommendation 1. The Commission disapproved proceeding with two of the proposed improvement activities, but directed the staff to re-evaluate those activities within the context of the Risk Management Regulatory Framework initiative. No further action will be taken under the Japan Lessons Learned implementation effort.
- All related documents are available in Docket NRC-2012-0173 on Regulations.gov
- U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Staff Recommendation for the Disposition of Recommendation 1 of the Near-Term Task Force Report (SECY-13-0132) (December 6, 2013)
- Commission Decision on Staff Recommendation for the Disposition of Recommendation 1 of the Near-Term Task Force Report (SRM-SECY-13-0132) (May 19, 2014)