NRC schedules July 26 open house to discuss Point Beach nuclear power plant performance and NRC oversight

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will conduct an open house on Thursday, July 26, in Two Rivers, Wis., to discuss the agency’s assessment of safety performance for last year at the Point Beach Nuclear Power Plant.

The open house is informal and will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. CDT at the Lester Public Library, 1001 Adams Street in Two Rivers. The two unit plant is operated by NextEra Energy Point Beach, LLC and is about 40 miles southeast of Green Bay.

“The NRC continually reviews the performance of the Point Beach plant and the nation’s other nuclear power facilities,” said Regional Administrator for NRC Region III Charles Casto. “This meeting will allow us to speak directly with the local community about the plant’s performance last year and the NRC’s actions to make sure the plant continues to operate safely. Those actions include additional inspections in response to the events at the Fukushima Daiichi facilities to evaluate the safety of US nuclear plants. The reviews showed that Point Beach and other US plants continue to operate safely. ”

A letter sent from the NRC Region III office to plant officials addressed the performance of the plant during 2011 and will serve as the basis for the discussion.

Overall, the NRC found that both Point Beach Unit 1 and Unit 2 operated safely in 2011.

The NRC uses color-coded inspection findings and performance indicators to assess nuclear plant performance. The colors start with “green” and then increase to “white,” “yellow” or “red,” commensurate with the safety significance of the issues involved. All performance indicators and inspection findings for Point Beach during 2011 were determined to be “green.” Performance indicators are statistical measurements of plant and equipment performance.

Point Beach will continue to receive the detailed inspection regime required for plants that are operating well and require no additional oversight.

Inspections are performed by two NRC Resident Inspectors assigned to the plant and by inspection specialists from the Region III Office in Lisle, Ill., and the agency’s headquarters in Rockville, Md.

In addition to the day-to-day inspections performed by the resident inspectors, specific areas of plant operations to be inspected include radiation protection, plant modifications, refueling activities, spent reactor fuel storage, and emergency preparedness.