United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

WNP-2 Ratings Improve to "Good" in NRC Systematic Assessment Report

NRC Seal




Walnut Creek Field Office

1450 Maria Lane, Walnut Creek, CA, 94596


CONTACT:    Mark Hammond (Phone: (510) 975-0254, E-mail: mfh2@nrc.gov)


April 9, 1997


The Washington Nuclear Project-2 has received performance ratings of "good'' in four functional areas in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's latest Systematic Assessment of Licensee Performance.

The SALP report was issued on April 3 to the Washington Public Power Supply System, which operates the boiling water reactor near Richland, WA. It evaluates the plant's performance for the period Sept. 3, 1995, to March 1.

NRC and WPPSS officials will discuss the report at a meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, April 22, at the Supply System office on George Washington Way in Richland. The meeting will be open to the public for observation; NRC officials will be available afterwards for questions.

SALP reports rate nuclear plants in four functional areas -- plant operations, maintenance, engineering and plant support, and assign ratings of Category 1, 2 or 3, reflecting superior, good or acceptable performance, respectively.

In the previous SALP report, in September 1995, the NRC had rated WNP-2 "acceptable" in operations and engineering, and "good" in maintenance and plant support.

In a letter to the Supply System, Ellis W. Merschoff, the Regional Administrator of NRC Region IV in Arlington, Texas, said, "These SALP ratings, as a whole, represent a significant improvement from the previous assessment. However, additional attention is necessary to address the weaknesses that were identified."

In the area of operations, the NRC found that overall safety performance had improved and that operations management and staff had assumed more leadership in day-to-day activities. However, the report notes weaknesses in Operations' performance when challenged with non-routine situations as the plant emerged from a refueling outage last June and July.

In maintenance, the condition of the plant continued to be good, and significant improvements were noted in the planning of work activities. However, several instances of inattention to detail were noted, and the conduct of surveillance activities continued to be inconsistent.

In engineering, the NRC noted that Engineering management established a strategic plan that ensured goals were clearly identified and complemented those of other site organizations, and effectively used performance indicators to ensure that expectations were met. However, past weaknesses in engineering quality, root cause analyses of problems and corrective actions persisted.

In plant support, improvements were noted in both radiological controls and security. A decline in performance was noted in the emergency preparedness area.

NOTE: A copy of the SALP report is available from this office or on the Internet at http:\\www.nrc.gov\OPA.

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