United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

NRC Staff Rates Dresden "Good" in Operations, Plant Support, "Acceptable" in Maintenance, Engineering in Latest Assessment



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U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, REGION III

801 Warrenville Road, Lisle IL 60532

CONTACT:    Jan Strasma (630) 829-9663/e-mail: rjs2@nrc.gov
Angela Dauginas (630) 829-9662/e-mail: opa3@nrc.gov

NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT: RIII-97-15

February 11, 1997

NRC STAFF RATES DRESDEN "GOOD" IN OPERATIONS, PLANT SUPPORT,
"ACCEPTABLE" IN MAINTENANCE, ENGINEERING IN LATEST ASSESSMENT

The Dresden Nuclear Power Station, operated by Commonwealth Edison Co., has received performance ratings of "good" in operations and plant support and "acceptable" in maintenance and engineering, the four areas of review in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff's latest Systematic Assessment of Licensee Performance (SALP) report for the facility. The plant is located near Morris, Illinois.

The assessment covers the period from March 19, 1995, through December 28 of last year.

The NRC staff and Commonwealth Edison officials will discuss the evaluation during a meeting set for 10 a.m. CST on February 21 in the Training Building at the Dresden Station. The Dresden Station is located on Dresden Road just north of Lorenzo Road in Grundy County, Illinois.

The meeting will be open to public observation. NRC officials will be available afterwards to speak with reporters, state and local officials, and members of the public.

NRC SALP reports rate utilities in four functional areas -- plant operations, maintenance, engineering, and plant support -- and assign ratings of Category 1, 2, or 3 depending on whether their performance in those areas is superior, good or acceptable. The report on Dresden gives the plant a "Category 2" rating -- indicating good performance -- in operations and plant support and a "Category 3" rating -- indicating acceptable performance -- in maintenance and engineering.

NRC Regional Administrator A. Bill Beach, in a letter to the utility, noted that performance at Dresden in the previous SALP assessment was cyclical and declining at the end of the period. He told the utility: "The efforts to reinvigorate your improvement initiates during [this SALP] period resulted in overall improved performance."

"The current SALP ratings reflect an improved performance in plant operations and with some performance decline in maintenance and surveillance activities," he said.

"Improvements noted in the operations area resulted from implementing effective performance standards and improved procedural adherence by control room operators," he continued. "Strong management support of conservative decision making was clearly demonstrated during the assessment period when, on several occasions, operating units were shut down or remained shut down until root causes and corrective actions were implemented for equipment problems."

He said improvements were made in the condition of equipment at the plant, but that "plant performance continued to be challenged by persistent weaknesses rooted in material condition, work control, test control, and the quality of some maintenance activities."

The quality of engineering support to plant operations improved, but weaknesses continued to be identified with "the inconsistent quality of engineering work, the inability to resolve some long-standing design problems, and the lack of aggressive resolution of some nonconforming conditions until prompting by the NRC," Mr. Beach said.

He told the utility, "Good performance in chemistry, emergency preparedness, and fire protection, and improved performance in the control of personnel exposures and contaminated areas indicate some success with your improvement initiatives in the area of Plant Support."

Functional Area Current Period Previous Period
Operations 2 3
Maintenance 3 2
Engineering 3 3
Plant Support 2 2

The full SALP report is available on the NRC's internet web site at: <http://www.nrc.gov/OPA>. SALP reports for all nuclear plants are also available as they are issued through an electronic mailing list. To receive these reports send an e-mail message to listproc@nrc.gov with no subject and with the following message: subscribe salp yourfirstname yourlastname.

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