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Nuclear Information and Resource Services Critiques Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Y2K Program


A NIRS press release...

1424 16th Street NW, #404, Washington, DC 20036
202.328.0002; fax: 202.462.2183;;

Contact: Mary Olson or Paul Gunter, 202.328.0002

July 8, 1999



The Nuclear Information and Resource Service gave the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Y2K program failing grades today,
based on the agency's admission that 35 nuclear reactors still
haven't resolved their problems with the well-known computer bug.
NIRS noted that several of these reactors aren't even scheduled
to complete their fixes until November 1999--or even later--which
leaves virtually no time for testing and further adjustment to
their repairs. [see below for NRC press release about this.]

"The NRC's program is unacceptable," said NIRS' executive
director Michael Mariotte. "It's what we feared all along--this
agency is waiting until the last minute and then just hoping that
everything will work out ok. But with nuclear reactors, there is no
margin for error. Simply hoping for the best is a sure indication
that the worst can happen."

According to the NRC, which released preliminary information about
the status of nuclear reactors and the Y2K issue yesterday, 35
reactors are not yet "Y2K ready," although all were supposed to be
ready by July 1, 1999. Moreover, as noted yesterday by Rep. Edward
Markey (D-Mass.), the concept of Y2K ready does not mean "Y2K
compliant." In fact, for the nuclear industry, "Y2K ready" can mean
simply turning back the clock to 1972 and hoping everything works

"Obviously, the nuclear utilities still have an enormous amount
of work to do to repair their computer systems for the next
century," said Mary Olson, NIRS' Y2K specialist. "The NRC is trying
to put the best spin possible on this problem, but the fact is some
utilities just aren't going to be ready in time. Experts agree that
no nuclear power will be needed in the U .S. on January 1,
2000--there will be plenty of electrical generation available. For
that reason, we join with our colleagues across the globe in
calling for a nuclear moratorium on January 1--a shutdown of all
nuclear facilities across the world. Who knows, we may find we can
live without them permanently?"

Among the U.S. reactors that do not even intend to meet minimal
Y2K issues until after November 1, 1999 are: Brunswick-1 (NC,
11/30/99); Comanche Peak-1 & 2 (TX, 11/30/99); Cook-1 & 2
(12/15/99); Farley-2 (Al, 12/16/99); Salem-1 (NJ, 11/6/99). Many
others have a Y2K-ready date of the end of October 1999.

In December 1998, NIRS submitted three petitions for rulemaking to
the NRC. One would require any utility not fully Y2K-compliant by
December 1, 1999 to be closed until it can prove it is Y2K-compliant.
Thus far, the NRC has not indicated that any reactor will be Y2K-compliant
by December 1, 1999.

NIRS is also actively working to provide assistance to
Eastern-bloc utilities that suffer from Y2K problems with their
reactors and electrical grids.

"More U.S. assistance is necessary for many Eastern countries
to ensure that January 1, 2000 is not a time of meltdown, but
of celebration," said Olson. "The U.S. Congress needs to recognize
that several Eastern countries need help in basic Y2K work and in
enabling the implementation of meaningful contingency plans. Such
assistance is of little cost to the U.S., but will be of great
benefit if meltdowns and electrical grid disruptions can be

NRC Press Release:

Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Office of Public Affairs
Washington DC 20555
Telephone: 301/415-8200 -- E-mail:
No. 99-138
July 7, 1999


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has received reports from all 103
operating nuclear power plants (units) indicating that there are no
Y2K-related problems which directly affect the performance of safety
systems. Sixty-eight of these plants indicated that all of their
computer systems that support safe plant operation are "Y2K ready."

The remaining 35 plants reported that they have additional work to
complete on a few non-safety computer systems or devices to be fully Y2K
ready and provided their schedules for completing the work. Of the 35
plants, about one third have remaining work involving systems needed for
power generation. Other plants have work that deals with plant
monitoring and administrative systems. None of the remaining work
affects the ability of a plant to shut down safely, if needed.

Typically, the remaining Y2K work to be completed after July 1 is
because of a scheduled plant outage in the fall or the necessity to wait
for delivery of a replacement component for a plant.

These plants have actions remaining to be completed to be fully Y2K

Plant Name: Beaver Valley, Units 1 and 2;
Location (Closest City): Shippingport, PA
Y2K Ready Date: 9/30/99

Plant Name: Browns Ferry, Units 2 and 3
Location (Closest City): Athens, AL
Y2K Ready Date: 10/31/99

Plant Name: Brunswick, Unit 1
Location (Closest City): Southport, NC
Y2K Ready Date: 11/30/99

Plant Name: Clinton
Location (Closest City): Clinton, IL
Y2K Ready Date: 9/22/99

Plant Name: Comanche Peak, Unit 1
Location (Closest City): Glen Rose
Y2K Ready Date: 11/30/99

Plant Name: Comanche Peak, Unit 2
Location (Closest City): Glen Rose, TX
Y2K Ready Date: 10/30/99

Plant Name: D.C. Cook, Units 1 and 2
Location (Closest City): Bridgman, MI
Y2K Ready Date: 12/15/99

Plant Name: Davis-Besse
Location (Closest City): Port Clinton, OH
Y2K Ready Date: 8/1/99

Plant Name: Diablo Canyon, Units 1 and 2
Location (Closest City): San Luis Obispo, CA
Y2K Ready Date: 10/31/99

Plant Name: Farley, Unit 2
Location (Closest City): Columbia, AL
Y2K Ready Date: 12/16/99

Plant Name: Hope Creek
Location (Closest City): Hancocks Bridge, NJ
Y2K Ready Date: 10/29/99

Plant Name: Limerick, Unit 2
Location (Closest City): Limerick, PA
Y2K Ready Date: 9/30/99

Plant Name: Monticello
Location (Closest City): Monticello, MN
Y2K Ready Date: 9/1/99

Plant Name: North Anna, Unit 2
Location (Closest City): Mineral, VA
Y2K Ready Date: 10/29/99

Plant Name: Oyster Creek
Location (Closest City): Toms River, NJ
Y2K Ready Date: 9/30/99

Plant Name: Peach Bottom, Unit 2
Location (Closest City): Delta, PA
Y2K Ready Date: 9/30/99

Plant Name: Peach Bottom, Unit 3
Location (Closest City): Delta, PA
Y2K Ready Date: 10/31/99

Plant Name: Perry
Location (Closest City): Perry, OH
Y2K Ready Date: 8/1/99

Plant Name: Salem, Unit 1
Location (Closest City): Wilmington, DE
Y2K Ready Date: 11/6/99

Plant Name: Salem, Unit 2
Location (Closest City): Hancocks, NJ
Y2K Ready Date: 10/29/99

Plant Name: Sequoyah, Units 1 and 2
Location (Closest City): Soddy-Daisy, TN
Y2K Ready Date: 10/31/99

Plant Name: South Texas, Units 1 and 2
Location (Closest City): Bay City, TX
Y2K Ready Date: 10/31/99

Plant Name: St. Lucie, Units 1 and 2
Location (Closest City): Fort Pierce, FL
Y2K Ready Date: 7/15/99

Plant Name: Three Mile Island, Unit 1
Location (Closest City): Middletown, PA
Y2K Ready Date: 10/21/99

Plant Name: Turkey Point, Units 3 and 4
Location (Closest City): Florida City, FL
Y2K Ready Date: 7/15/99

Plant Name: Vermont Yankee
Location (Closest City): Vernon, VT
Y2K Ready Date: 10/31/99

Plant Name: Watts Bar
Location (Closest City): Spring City, TN
Y2K Ready Date: 10/31/99

Additional Y2K information on all operating nuclear power plants is
available at NRC's Y2K web site:

The NRC has been working with its licensees to ensure that potential Y2K
issues have been identified and corrected. The NRC will continue to
monitor progress at those plants which have remaining items of work and
will independently verify completion of these items, including Y2K
contingency plans -- procedures for dealing with unexpected events. All
licensees are expected to be Y2K ready and have contingency plans in
place before December 31. If, by the end of September, it appears that
Y2K readiness activities will not be completed in advance of the
December 31-January 1 transition, NRC will take appropriate action,
including the issuance of shutdown orders, if warranted.

In addition to reviewing licensees' responses, the NRC is reviewing the
results of its on-site Y2K reviews of all operating nuclear plants
conducted over the past three months. By mid-July, the NRC will complete
a preliminary summary of these reviews and the July 1 responses from
licensees. A final report will be issued by the end of July and posted
to NRC's Y2K web site.

The "Year 2000" or Y2K problem refers to computers' potential inability
to recognize dates beginning with January 1, 2000, and beyond. It arises
from computer programs that use two-digit numbers to represent a
calendar year (such as "98" for 1998). For example, computer systems
could read "00" as 1900, rather than 2000, potentially causing computer
systems to malfunction. "Y2K ready" means that functions provided by
computer systems will be carried out successfully with the coming of the
Year 2000.