United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

NRC Finds Performance 'Acceptable' at Point Beach Nuclear Plant in Latest Review


NRC Seal NRC NEWS

U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, REGION III

801 Warrenville Road, Lisle IL 60532

 

NEWS ANNOUNCEMENT: RIII-99-24
April 6, 1999


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

 

NRC FINDS PERFORMANCE 'ACCEPTABLE' AT POINT BEACH NUCLEAR PLANT IN LATEST REVIEW

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has found that safety performance remains acceptable in the NRC's latest plant performance review at the Point Beach Nuclear Power Station, located near Two Rivers, Wisconsin.

The review covers the period from November 1997 through January 31.

In a letter to Wisconsin Electric Co., which operates the plant, Geoffrey Grant, Division Director in the NRC's Region III Office, said, "Overall, performance at Point Beach was acceptable, with some improvement noted in the area of self-assessment. For example, the use of industry peers for an assessment of operations was highly beneficial."

He continued, "However, secondary-side equipment material condition problems, including several involving the main feedwater system, and problems with the freeze protection system challenged routine reactor operations. Operator response to secondary-side equipment problems, including the sudden failure of a main feedwater pump bearing, was good. In contrast, problems with the freeze protection system, identified in December, were not properly assessed by operators resulting in the freezing of the safety injection minimum recirculation flow line."

The text of the plant performance review letter is available from the NRC Region III Office of Public Affairs and on the NRC web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/OPA/ppr.

NRC reviews safety performance twice a year at every licensed nuclear power plant in the nation. These reviews give the agency staff an integrated assessment of plant performance and provide a basis for planning inspection activities.

Plant performance reviews are an interim measure NRC is using to monitor nuclear power plant safety. The agency began using it for this purpose after suspending the Systematic Assessment of License Performance (SALP) process until a new assessment program is developed. Previously, SALP reports were issued every 12 to 24 months.

The new reactor oversight and assessment program being developed will provide quarterly performance reports, based on a number of performance indicators and on inspection findings. This program will be tested at eight plants beginning in June and will be extended to all plants next January. A full description of the new program is available on the NRC web site at: http://www.nrc.gov/OPA/primer.htm.

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