NRC seeks comment on proposed rule on mitigating severe accidents

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission seeks public comment on a proposed rule based on lessons learned from the March 2011 accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant. The proposed rule builds on Orders the NRC issued in March 2012.

The proposed rule, published today in the Federal Register, would apply to operating commercial nuclear power plants, future plants and decommissioning reactors. It would require U.S. commercial reactors to:

Maintain resources and procedures to cool a reactor’s core and spent fuel pool, as well as preserve the reactor’s containment, following an event that disables all a/c electrical power sources at a site;

**Maintain equipment that can reliably measure spent fuel pool water levels after a severe event;

**Establish requirements for an integrated response capability, including command and control, drills and training; and

**Enhance requirements for onsite emergency response capabilities.

The proposed rule consolidates information from two earlier rulemaking processes involving station blackout mitigating strategies and onsite emergency response. All of these efforts are based on recommendations from a task force of senior NRC managers that examined the lessons from the Fukushima accident.

Comments will be accepted until Feb. 11, 2016. They may be submitted over the federal government’s rulemaking website, www.regulations.gov, using Docket ID NRC-2014-0240. They may also be faxed to 301-415-1101; emailed to Rulemaking.Comments@nrc.gov; or mailed to Secretary, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C., 20555-0001, ATTN: Rulemaking and Adjudications Staff.