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Nuclear Energy Institute
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NEI Comments on NRC Decision to Commence Rulemaking on Containment Filtering Strategies

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior vice president and chief nuclear officer, Anthony Pietrangelo, made the following remarks regarding the NRC commissioners’ vote directing a two-track approach to improve the capabilities to vent and filter potential releases from boiling water reactors with Mark I and II containment designs. The commission enhanced an order requiring hardened venting systems and authorized a rulemaking to produce requirements to cool reactor core debris and filter significant radiation releases.
“The nuclear energy industry concurs that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff should develop the technical basis for a rulemaking for filtering strategies and severe accident management of BWR Mark I and II containments. The rulemaking process is the proper approach for consideration of this matter, as it affords all stakeholders the opportunity to participate.

“With this direction to the NRC staff, the commission is addressing the central issue: What is the most effective way to filter containment vents to reduce radiation releases in extreme situations where a reactor may be damaged?

“In addition, the order to enhance containment venting systems under severe accident conditions will also enhance containment integrity. Maintaining integrity of reactor containment buildings is critical to preventing significant radioactive releases. This can only be achieved by cooling the reactor and controlling containment venting.

“An important benefit of the rulemaking process is that it increases public involvement and transparency compared to a prescriptive order. The nuclear energy industry remains committed to pursuing the most reliable solutions that have proven safety results, based on science and the facts.

“We commend the commission for its thoughtful deliberation on this issue. We look forward to participating in the rulemaking process.”