U.S. Nuclear Plants are Designed for Severe Natural Hazards

We’ve gotten some questions about how U.S. nuclear power plants would fare when faced with severe natural hazards. To answer: NRC’s rigorous safety regulations ensure that U.S. nuclear facilities are designed to withstand tsunamis, earthquakes and other hazards. In addition to those plants in recognized earthquake zones, the NRC has been working with several agencies to assess recent seismic research for the central and eastern part of the country. That work continues to indicate U.S. plants will remain safe.

For more information on U.S. nuclear power plants and earthquakes, read our backgrounder on the subject here: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/fs-seismic-issues.html

Eliot Brenner
Public Affairs Director

Easy Searching for Licensee Event Reports

logoLicensee Event Reports – LERs – for nuclear power plants licensed by NRC can now be easily searched through Data.gov. NRC has required nuclear power plants to submit LERs since 1980, and about 52,000 of these reports have been submitted since then. In addition to finding them on the NRC website, you can now search for these reports based on a variety of criteria including date of occurrence, nuclear power plant name, plant operating mode, reactor type, regional location and keywords.

Licensees are required to submit these event reports to the NRC when conditions occur in a nuclear power plant that are beyond its technical specifications (i.e., those conditions approved for the plant to operate). For example, if a required safety barrier was discovered to not function properly, this would trigger the need for an LER.

A complete description of LER reportable events can be found in 10 CFR 50.73 at: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/cfr/part050/part050-0073.html.

Once an LER is submitted, NRC staff review it to understand and confirm the licensee’s assessment of the situation. NRC staff experts also determine whether the licensee’s resolution of the issue continues to maintain adequate levels of safety and protection of the public.

Data.gov is a website initiated as part of the White House’s Open Government initiative. It helps give the public greater access to data generated by the federal government. Hosted by the General Services Administration, Data.gov is a repository of government data that ranges from crime statistics by neighborhood to the best towns in which to find a job.

Amy Bonaccorso
Senior Communications Specialist