NRC gives Limerick Nuke plant “green” rating for 2013 operations

The Exelon Nuclear Generating Station in Limerick.

LIMERICK — Exelon Nuclear’s Limerick Generating Station was operated in a safe manner in 2013, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has declared after an annual review.

“At the conclusion of last year, as assessed by the NRC’s Reactor Oversight Process, there were no performance indicators for the plant that were other than (very low risk) and no inspection findings that (exceeded very low safety significance),” the NRC wrote in an April 29 release.

The performance assessment, and any other issues to do with the plant, can be discussed with NRC staff at the open house, scheduled for Thursday, May 7 at the Limerick Township Building, 656 W. Ridge Pike, from 5 to 7 p.m.

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Members of the public will be able to hold one-on-one discussions with NRC staff and the resident inspectors assigned to the plant.

The NRC’s assessment system uses a color code to indicate the level of seriousness of any issues found during inspections over the course of the year, with green indicating very low safety or security significance and red being a high level of significance.

What indicators there were at Limerick were all green.

As a result of that, “Limerick will continue to receive the NRC’s normal level of oversight during 2014, barring any changes,” the NRC wrote in its release.

However, in 2013, the “normal level of oversight” meant 5,440 hours of inspection at Limerick, according to the NRC.

“We take very seriously the task of stepping back on a regular basis to size up plant performance,” said Bill DEan, NRC’s Region 1 administrator.

“Limerick, by virtue of its performance in 2013, will receive our routine — though still substantial — battery of inspections,” Dean said.

The NRC issues reports on performance at each plant twice a year, the first during mid-cycle and at the conclusion of the year. Inspection findings and performance indicators are also updated on a quarterly basis on the agency’s web site.

News of the NRC’s assessment came two days before the plant announced that its Unit 2 reactor returned to full power after successfully completing inspections of the unit’s main turbine.

During the outage, workers performed comprehensive equipment inspections and replaced one low-pressure turbine blade.

Turbine inspections could not be performed while the unit was generating electricity.