Retracing the Steps of Post-Fukushima “Walkdowns”

George Wilson
Team Lead
Japan Lessons-Learned Directorate
 

Walkdowns (3)Every U.S. nuclear power plant recently completed “walkdowns” to review its existing flood and earthquake protection features. This work is part of the NRC’s efforts to learn from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. Now, NRC experts are checking up on how a few plants carried out this work, as part of our review of the walkdown reports.

We’ll do our audits over the next few weeks. For flooding walkdowns, we’ll visit Hope Creek/Salem and Oyster Creek in New Jersey; Vermont Yankee; Millstone in Connecticut; Brunswick in North Carolina; Quad Cities in Illinois; and Monticello in Minnesota. For earthquake walkdowns we’ll visit Beaver Valley in Pennsylvania; Seabrook in New Hampshire; Sequoyah in Tennessee; DC Cook in Michigan; Point Beach in Wisconsin; and Comanche Peak in Texas.

Why those plants? Well, the walkdown reports might be unclear in some regard or may have taken an unusual approach to meeting the NRC’s request to carry out the work. Other reasons could include the relative experience of the plant’s walkdown staff, or a plant completing its work faster than the industry average. The bottom line is that we want to ensure the plants did a thorough job.

For the audits, experts from NRC Headquarters will work with one of our resident inspectors at the site, spending several days at each plant. The team will examine documentation, discuss the walkdowns with the plant staff who performed them, and — if necessary — inspect plant structures described in the plant’s walkdown report.

The audit results will help the NRC staff better understand what additional questions we might need to ask as we continue reviewing all the walkdown reports. The plants we audit will have to resolve any issues that we identify, along with anything they noted during their walkdowns.