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1998-05-15 15:56:56


Nuclear Energy Industry Will Be Compliant, Says Industry Official



A representative of the nuclear power industry assured a Congressional subcommittee that there will be no big problems with the nuclear power industry.

Stop the presses!

The good thing about this testimony is that it is short. It says, without qualification, that those companies that have reported that they have assessed the problem have found no major problems.

"Plants that have completed the initial assessment are reporting confidence in their ability to complete testing and remediation in the time remaining."

He did not mention plants that have not completed the initial assessment.

He did not mention that assessment is less than 10% of the total repair project.

He did not mention embedded chips.

* * * * * * *

Statement of Ralph Beedle, Senior Vice President and Chief Nuclear Officer, Nuclear Energy Institute, Submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives, House Science Subcommittee on Technology, May 14, 1998

The industry has not reported any year 2000 problem that would interfere with the safe shutdown of a nuclear power plant. Public health and safety will not be affected at the turn of the century. In a September 1997 policy paper The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff came to the same conclusion stating, "ůsafety-related initiation and actuation systems (e.g., reactor trip systems, engineered safety feature actuation system) are not subject to the Year 2000 concern."

Continuity of power, the ability to continue generating electricity, is an issue. Since nuclear power plants provide twenty percent of the power in this country, the ability to continue to operating is an important societal issue. . . .

A key step in the industry process is an initial assessment. It consists of a detailed inventory of susceptible components, each assigned a classification based on their importance to continued plant operations. Safety and regulatory required components are a top priority, followed by other systems important to continued operations. From this comes an understanding of the actual operational risk and prioritization for testing and remediation.

Plants that have completed the initial assessment are reporting confidence in their ability to complete testing and remediation in the time remaining. From their experience, the year 2000 program is challenging, but manageable. No one has reported a condition that cannot be made year 2000 ready in the time remaining. No one has reported any year 2000 problems with safety systems that would preclude safe plant shutdown, confirming the earlier analysis by Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff. . . .

In summary, a great deal of testing and remediation remains before nuclear power plants are fully ready for the year 2000 transition. There will be individual challenges, but at this point, I see nothing that cannot be effectively managed in the time available. The nuclear generating industry is well on its way to minimizing the risk of an unplanned shutdown of a nuclear power plant because of year 2000 problems.


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