Nuclear Fuel Services to receive annual Nuclear Regulatory Commission review

Brad Hicks • May 2, 2012 at 8:44 AM

ERWIN — Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials will meet with management of Nuclear Fuel Services here Tuesday to discuss the results of a licensee performance review for the facility.

The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. in the Circuit Court Room of the Unicoi County Courthouse, 100 N. Main Ave. NRC Public Affairs Officer Joey Ledford said the meeting is the commission’s annual regular meeting on NFS’s safety performance and is open to the public.

NRC officials will provide a presentation on NFS’s performance, which will be followed by a response from NFS management. NRC officials will then be available to answer questions from the public about the commission’s oversight and inspection of the facility.

“What we do is have an annual meeting to discuss the overall performance of the facility from the performance period of basically the 2011 year, from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31,” Ledford said. “This is just a safety performance meeting to discuss their performance during the last year.”

From the period beginning Jan. 1, 2011, and ending Dec. 31, NRC staff assessed NFS’s performance in the areas of safety operations, radiological controls, facility support and special topics. Those evaluations will form the basis for discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.

The area of facility safeguards also was assessed, but that area will not be discussed publicly due to the sensitive nature of the information. A release from the NRC states that its staff determined that NFS conducted its activities “safely and securely, protecting the public, workers and the environment.”

“We have noted an improvement in their safety culture performance,” Ledford said.

During a similar review in 2010, the NRC found NFS needed improvement in the areas of safety operations and facility support. The NRC release states additional inspections and oversight at the Erwin facility have “since ensured that NFS has met its commitments and performed the necessary corrective actions to address the problems.”

“Nuclear Fuel Services’ 2011 safety culture performance has demonstrated improvements,” Anthony Gody, NRC’s direction of the Division of Fuel Facility Inspection, wrote in a letter to NFS. Gody also wrote that the “NRC inspection staff noted that NFS’ actions in 2011 were properly focused on safety and were consistent with their improved processes.”

In 2012, the NRC will conduct its core inspection programs at NFS. However, oversight beyond the core inspection program will still be required to verify that NFS is complying with its previous commitments.

A copy of the NRC letter detailing the NFS review is available online in the NRC’s Agency-wide Document Access and Management System at www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html#web-based-adams. The number to access the document is ML12072A191.

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