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Industry, NRC Post-Fukushima Enhancements Continue

Aug. 15, 2013—A nuclear energy industry working group is sending white papers to the NRC in response to generic requests for additional information concerning implementation of the industry’s diverse and flexible (FLEX) strategy for coping with severe, beyond-design-basis accidents.

The NRC evaluated FLEX submittals from the operators of the Palo Verde and Vermont Yankee facilities earlier this year and requested the additional information. The white papers will respond to questions in eight areas applicable to other plant sites.

The industry is working closely with the NRC to resolve open issues in the information requests by the end of August so that FLEX implementation can continue on the industry’s original schedule.

FLEX addresses critical problems that might be encountered due to severe external events, such as those that occurred during the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident—loss of power and reactor cooling. The strategy provides the capability to respond to an extended loss of power by using backup emergency equipment—generators, battery packs, pumps, air compressors and battery chargers.


The NRC is expected to publish its assessments of licensees’ flooding hazard re-evaluations by early next year.

Jim Riley, NEI’s senior technical adviser and Fukushima flooding task force lead, said the agency would publish the assessments after its requests for additional information concerning the flooding re-evaluations have been resolved.  

The flooding task force also is developing examples of integrated assessments for plant sites whose flooding re-evaluation results exceed their design bases. These examples aim to enhance the existing, but relatively untried, guidance for this effort (JLD-ISG-2012-05). 

The NRC last month released its final guidance on flooding re-evaluations due to dam failure. The guidance is available on the NRC’s ADAMS database under accession numbers ML13151A153 and ML13151A161.