United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Oconee Nuclear Plant Rated "Superior" in One Area, "Good" in Three Other Areas of NRC Assessment Report


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U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, REGION II

61 Forsyth Street, Suite 23T85, Atlanta, GA 30303

CONTACT: Ken Clark (Phone: 404-562-4416, E-mail: kmc2@nrc.gov )
Roger Hannah (Phone 404-562-4417, E-mail: rdh1@nrc.gov )

No: II-97-89

December 30, 1997

OCONEE NUCLEAR PLANT RATED "SUPERIOR" IN ONE AREA,
"GOOD" IN THREE OTHER AREAS OF NRC ASSESSMENT REPORT

The Oconee nuclear power plant received performance ratings of "superior" in one area and "good" in the other three areas of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's latest systematic assessment of licensee performance (SALP) of the facility.

The SALP report was sent December 19 to Duke Energy Corporation, which operates the facility near Seneca, South Carolina. It evaluates the plant's performance from May 5, 1996 through November 15, 1997.

NRC and Duke officials will discuss the report during a meeting set for 1:00 p.m. Thursday, January 8, at the Oconee site. The NRC has also scheduled another meeting with Duke officials for 10:00 a.m. the same day at the Oconee site to discuss the plant's Recovery Plan. The 10:00 meeting will be held in Room 316 of the Oconee Office Building; the 1:00 SALP presentation meeting will be held in the Oconee Complex Auditorium. Both meetings will be open for public observation, and NRC officials will be available after the meetings to speak with reporters, state and local officials, and members of the public.

The NRC SALP process rates licensees in four functional areas -- plant operations, maintenance, engineering, and plant support -- and assigns ratings of Category 1, 2 or 3 depending on whether their performance in those areas was superior, good or adequate.

The report on Oconee gives the plant a Category 1 rating in plant support indicating "superior" performance, and a Category 2 rating in plant operations, maintenance and engineering, indicating "good" performance. The ratings in the plant's previous SALP report, issued in June 1996, were Category 1's in plant operations, engineering and plant support and Category 2 in maintenance.

In his cover letter to the report, NRC Regional Administrator Luis Reyes said "overall facility performance was characterized by a considerable number of equipment-related problems, several of which resulted in significant events." He said deficiencies in human performance, procedural controls, problem identification and resolution, and technical staff support led to the decline in the plant operations and engineering areas.

Reyes said similar problems caused the maintenance area to remain at the "good" level. The plant support area was sustained at a "superior" level.

Reyes said the NRC staff acknowledges the company's own recognition of the declining performance and Duke's Oconee Recovery Plan will continue to be evaluated by the NRC through inspections and bi-monthly meetings.

EDITORS:A copy of the full SALP report is available from this office. SALP reports are also available on the NRC's Internet web site (www.nrc.gov/OPA) and by e-mail subscription. To receive SALP reports by e-mail as they are issued, send an e-mail to listproc@nrc.gov with the following message: subscribe salp yourfirstname your lastname.

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