Let’s Chat – Coming Soon to the NRC

Holly Harrington
Senior Advisor

Picture1The NRC is expanding its social media program next week by launching a pilot of a live discussion platform known as NRC Chat. The first Chat is scheduled for April 30 at 2 p.m. EST on the subject of history of U.S. nuclear power with the NRC’s historian, Tom Wellock.

The Chat is similar to the existing NRC blog, and is also hosted on WordPress, but it features a real-time discussion. Each one-hour Chat session will focus on a specific issue with an NRC expert responding to the questions. Some sessions we hope to hold in the future will include such topics as Japan “lessons learned” activities, hurricane preparedness and “waste confidence.”

Chat addresses a key element in NRC’s Open Government Plan — enhancing the agency’s communication with the public and other stakeholders through the use of social media technologies. Information on Chat comment guidelines is here.

We’ll post the future schedule and topics soon, and will always tweet reminders. We expect to hold two Chat sessions a month for about six months. We’ll then evaluate the platform, and solicit your input.

You can submit questions early by sending them to opa.resource@nrc.gov. Please put CHAT in the subject line.

We hope to see you at the Chat!

Fort Calhoun: A Status Update

Lara Uselding
Public Affairs Officer, Region IV

fcsThe NRC held a public meeting with Omaha Public Power District (OPPD) on March 27 to discuss the status of the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant. The plant, just north of Omaha, Neb., has been shut down since April 9, 2011, for a refueling outage. The outage was extended due to historic flooding along the Missouri River followed by an electrical fire that led to an “Alert” declaration and further restart complications.

At the March meeting, NRC oversight panel members shared that a 15-member inspection team had been on site conducting a very thorough inspection and independent verification of the plant’s current status.

Based on the results of the team inspection activities, the NRC has found there are a number of potential issues that appear to need licensing actions. The NRC has scheduled a meeting with OPPD officials on April 22 to discuss four changes the licensee made to the plant that may have required prior NRC approval.

The first involves a change made to the plant’s water intake structure, which was discussed in a recently issued report. Secondly, OPPD used a method to evaluate systems, structures and components for seismic conditions that was not part of their licensing basis. Thirdly, they changed the method for analyzing the suitability of piping systems without approval. Lastly, some plant equipment may not be adequately protected from tornado-driven projectiles.

The meeting to discuss these issues is open to the public and details about the meeting can be found here. The public is encouraged to contact the project managers to obtain meeting materials prior to the meeting and to ensure they plan for the appropriate number of bridge lines.

A second meeting also is scheduled between NRC and OPPD on April 22. That meeting, to discuss the ongoing review of flood mitigation activities, is closed to the public due to sensitive security information being discussed.