The U.S. nuclear industry has developed an integrated, diverse, flexible strategy to implement the lessons learned from Fukushima Daiichi and address evolving NRC requirements. This diverse, flexible strategy reflects the two principal lessons learned from Fukushima Daiichi: 1) the importance of mitigating an extended loss of AC power and loss of cooling to maintain reactor safety, and 2) how nuclear sites must be prepared to mitigate events that affect multiple reactors at a site.
The industry's response to an extreme natural event relies on a three-phased strategy to ensure reactor, containment and spent fuel pool safety called FLEX that includes:
To that end, two National SAFER Response Centers (NSRCs) have been established as of September, 2014. The NSRCs provide emergency backup equipment designed to mitigate events by providing an additional layer of backup pumps, generators, compressors and associated equipment, e.g., hoses and electrical cable, with the capacity to handle up to four units at multiple sites. The NSRCs are managed by the Strategic Alliance for FLEX Emergency Response (SAFER) team. The SAFER Team also provides qualified setup and startup personnel to work in concert with Nuclear Plant personnel during the event.
The National SAFER Response Centers are located in Memphis, TN and Phoenix, AZ and are capable of delivering supplemental emergency equipment to any of America's nuclear energy facilities within 24 hours, enabling them to safely manage a loss of electrical power and/or cooling water supply. The equipment and materials provided by the NSRCs supplement the additional portable equipment stored at all existing nuclear energy facilities for use during a site emergency.
Each U.S. nuclear power plant has identified designated staging areas for equipment that are close enough to allow the direct delivery of the equipment to its plant by land and/or air transport within 24 hours from the request for support, but far enough away that they will not likely to be encumbered by the conditions that have initiated the emergency at the facility.
Important Facts about the NSRCs and the Emergency Equipment
Quarterly maintenance runs are performed on all engine driven equipment to ensure readiness.