University of Maryland, University College
Dr. Stuart B. Hardy
20 April, 2013
Table of Contents
1 Executive Summary
3 History of Nuclear Power Regulation
1 From the AEC to Today
2 Nuclear Regulatory Commission
3 The Department of Energy
4 How the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Regulates
2 Licensing, Decommissioning, and Certification
4 Operational Experience
5 Who helps the Nuclear Regulatory Commission make decisions
Appendix A: Charts and Pictures
Appendix B: References
1.0 Executive Summary
With 103 operational power plants in the United States alone, it is imperative that proper federal regulation be in place to ensure the safety of the American citizen and their surrounding environment. Nuclear regulatory power as it applies to power plant facilities lies with the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, whose job it is to not only create or rescind nuclear regulations as they pertain to licensees or certificate holders, but also to enforce these regulations through the use of inspections, assessments, and civil penalties depending on the severity of an infraction. This report will look into the regulation process and to report on this process to the general public. In conclusion, it will seek to ask whether or not these regulations are adequate in their design, and what will need to happen in the future to help ensure that the possibility of further incidences is reduced as much as possible. Listed below are some of the key findings from this report.
Nuclear Regulation falls to two federal agencies, the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission being responsible for the Nuclear power plant regulations we are exploring.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission seeks to incorporate the ideas of technical staff, experts, advisory committees, independent judges, as well as the general public before seeking to create, change, or rescind any regulation.
Civil penalties of as much as to $140,000 for each violation per day may be imposed upon an individual or organization which is found to be in violation.
The rules set forth by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission are simply a minimum guideline which must be followed to avoid being in violation and to keep employees and the environment uniformly safe. These rules really must be built upon as a foundation so that an organization or individual can provide the most adequate safety available for their employees and the surrounding environment.
Nuclear power is a fairly new source of energy, as far as energy sources are concerned. It wasn’t until 1951 that the first, usable electricity was produced by nuclear fission at the United States Nuclear Reactor Station, which would later be renamed the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. Then it was not until June 27, 1954 that the world’s first ever nuclear power plant was up and running in Obninsk, U.S.S.R. (outside Moscow) (Long, T. 2007)
In the United States, it was not until the 26th of May, 1958 that the first commercial nuclear power plant was created. This plant was built in a bureau of Beaver County, Pennsylvania known as Shippingport, as was thusly named the Shippingport Nuclear power plant. (IEEE, 2013) Paving the way as the first nuclear power plant in the United States, Shippingport also paved the way as the first decommissioned nuclear power plant in United States. The land the plant was located on was release for unrestricted public use after it’s decommission. (Shirk Jr., 2009) Today the United States is the largest producer of nuclear power in the world, producing an unprecedented 30 percent of all nuclear power. Currently it has 103 working reactors, with 3 more in the process of being built, although as many as 6 new reactors are