United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

River Bend Station Rated 'Good' in All Areas in NRC Assessment Report



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U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, REGION IV

611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington TX 76011

CONTACT:    Breck Henderson (817) 860-8128/e-mail: bwh@nrc.gov

RIV: 97-17

March 10, 1997

RIVER BEND STATION RATED 'GOOD' IN ALL AREAS
IN NRC ASSESSMENT REPORT

River Bend Station, a nuclear power plant near St. Francisville, La., received performance ratings of "good" in all four functional areas rated in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's latest systematic assessment of licensee performance (SALP) for the facility.

The SALP report was sent March 3 to Entergy Operations, Inc., which operates the plant. The report evaluates the plant's performance from July 30, 1995, through February 1, 1997.

NRC and Entergy officials will discuss the report during a meeting set for 10 a.m. Tuesday, March 18, at River Bend Station. The meeting will be open for public observation. NRC officials will be available afterwards to speak with reporters, state and local officials, and members of the public.

NRC systematic assessment reports rate licensees 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 was superior, good or acceptable. River Bend was given the following scores on the current SALP and the previous SALP in July 1995:

Functional areas & ratings Current Previous
Plant Operations 2 2
Maintenance 2 2
Engineering 2 2
Plant Support 2 1

In his cover letter to the report, NRC acting Regional Administrator Jim Dyer said, "Although the numerical ratings for Operations, Maintenance and Engineering functional areas remained the same as those received for the last SALP period, improvements were noted. However, while the improvements were significant in some instances, superior performance was not achieved."

In Operations, Dyer said, "Routine plant activities and minor plant transients were handled well, but configuration management problems persisted and weaknesses were observed with crew performance in the simulator."

The excellent material condition of the plant was evidence of the continued success of the maintenance program, Dyer noted, and improvements were noted in scheduling and conduct of maintenance. Inconsistencies were identified with the implementation of surveillance and inservice testing programs.

Dyer said Engineering continued to be an area of strength at River Bend, noting in particular the quality of the system engineering staff. However, the quality of engineering products was mixed overall.

"The decline in the Plant Support functional area was the result of concerns identified with the implementation of the radiological protection and emergency preparedness programs," Dyer said. "Instances of personnel entering radiologically controlled areas without proper dosimetry, and problems noted during outages contributed to the decline. In addition weaknesses were identified during the annual lemergency preparedness program review and the biennial emergency response exercise."

Dyer concluded by saying, River Bend Station continues to focus on improving performance through a process of self-critical identification and correction of problems, and that the results of these efforts are becoming evident.

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