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.

Author: Moderator

Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

10 thoughts on “Retracing the Steps of Post-Fukushima “Walkdowns””

  1. Wolf Creek’s cooling reservoir is designed to safely withstand the same earthquake the reactor is designed to survive.

    George Wilson

  2. Can Wolf Creek’s cooling reservoir withstand a quake? Is there karst geology underneath it by chance?

  3. Will there will be post-Fukushima inspections at Diablo Canyon? It sits on 14 earthquake faults, one of which runs under one of the units. Thanks!

  4. Sharing knowledge is always a good thing, but hopefully what also occurred was an onsite check to insure that the NRC residents are not getting too cozy with the Utilities and blurring the inspectional lines by turning a blind eye to operational and/or maintenance issues that need to be corrected.

    That was part of the root cause at San Onofre; in short, Senior technical NRC inspectors should inspect other regions for compliance issues, that way the NRC would insure that all plants are complying with Federal CFR regulations!

  5. Will you publish the original Walkdown reports?

    It rhymes with “talk down”, and is a strange word.

  6. Fewer “walkdowns”, more work on license renewals. That is my advice to you.

  7. It is a typical smoke blowing effort by the NRC: instead of correcting the design deficiency, namely that there is no plant which could claim avoidance of Zirconium firestorm ignition in the core for any initiating event, or even to have means to vent the reactor to prevent the stagnant super-heated steam to cover the cladding in the core with a gravity reserve of coolant; they are investigating these initiating events.
    Make the nuclear reactors unquestionably safe, please! It is not that hard!

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