The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) sent a formal letter to Entergy yesterday to inform the company that an inspection will take place from Nov. 28 to Dec. 9, 2016, and from Jan. 9-13, 2017. There will be 20 inspectors on-site to scrutinize mechanical systems and worker performance at the problem-plagued plant. The NRC’s letter also included an inspection plan.
The inspection is the third and final NRC special inspection resulting from increased oversight due to Pilgrim’s placement in a “Category IV” category last year — ranking it one of the three worst performing reactors in the country.
The NRC states six inspection objectives in its letter:
- provide the NRC with timely additional information to be used in deciding whether the continued operation of the facility is acceptable and whether additional regulatory actions are necessary to arrest declining licensee/plant performance;
- provide an independent assessment of the extent of risk-significant issues to aid in the determination of whether an unacceptable margin of safety or security exists;
- independently assess the adequacy of the programs and processes used by the licensee to identify, evaluate, and correct performance issues;
- independently evaluate the adequacy of programs and processes in the affected strategic performance areas;
- provide insight into the overall root and contributing causes of identified performance deficiencies; and
- evaluate the licensee’s third-party safety culture assessment and conduct a graded assessment of the licensee’s safety culture based on the results of the evaluation.
One watchdog group recently asked that an independent expert accompany the inspection team, who would be selected by the region’s congressional delegation. It’s unknown if the NRC responded to the request.
Check back for updates about the inspection!