Nuclear Regulatory Commission - News Release
No: II-20-015 May 12, 2020
Contact: Roger Hannah, 404-997-4417
NRC Schedules Virtual Meeting to Discuss 2019 Safety Performance of Vogtle Nuclear Power Plant Operating Units and Units Under Construction
Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will discuss the 2019 safety performance of the two operating units at the Vogtle nuclear power plant as well as the two units under construction at the site during a virtual meeting scheduled for May 20.
The Vogtle plant is located in east Georgia near Augusta and is operated by the Southern Nuclear Operating Co. The two operating units began operation in 1987 and 1989, and the two units under construction received combined operating licenses in 2012.
The session is scheduled for 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time with NRC employees responsible for plant inspections participating, including the operating and construction resident inspectors. The meeting will be accessible via Skype. For individuals without access to Skype, the telephone conference number is 301-415-0333, passcode is 68905#.
The NRC Reactor Oversight Process and the Construction Reactor Oversight Process, both requiring thousands of hours of inspection each year, use color-coded inspection findings and indicators to measure plant performance. The colors start at green and increase to white, yellow or red, commensurate with the safety significance of the issues involved. Inspection findings or performance indicators with more than very low safety significance trigger increased NRC oversight.
Inspections for the operating units and the construction units are performed by separate NRC resident inspectors and other inspection specialists from the NRC Region II office in Atlanta.
The NRC determined that the Vogtle operating units operated safely during 2019, but in March 2020, the NRC issued the final significance determination of a white finding and notice of violation involving a failure to adequately calibrate some containment radiation monitors. The failure would have resulted in overly conservative emergency declarations during certain accident scenarios. The NRC staff determined that Vogtle Units 1 and 2 are under increased oversight (retroactive to the third quarter of 2019) and will remain under increased oversight until the NRC completes a supplemental inspection to provide assurance that corrective actions address the causes and prevent recurrence. That inspection has not yet been scheduled.
The NRC found that Vogtle Units 3 and 4 are being built in a safe manner, and those units will remain under the NRC’s normal level of oversight for plants under construction.
The annual assessment letters for Vogtle 1 & 2 (the operating units) and Vogtle 3 & 4 (the units under construction), which include upcoming inspection plans, are available on the NRC website. Current performance information for Vogtle Unit 1, Unit 2, Unit 3, and Unit 4 is also available and is updated on a quarterly basis.