The Nuclear Regulatory Commission Should Report on Progress in Implementing Lessons Learned From the Three Mile Island Accident

RCED-85-72: Published: Jul 19, 1985. Publicly Released: Jul 19, 1985.

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GAO reviewed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) implementation of the Three Mile Island Action Plan to improve the operation and regulation of commercial nuclear facilities and the progress made by utility companies that operate nuclear power plants.

GAO found that: (1) most of the work on the Action Plan has been completed; (2) NRC assigned a higher priority to items considered to have the greatest potential for improving safety in the shortest time and at the lowest cost; and (3) utilities have completed 84 percent of the Action Plan tasks at the 51 plants where information was obtained. GAO noted that: (1) NRC does not plan to complete 20 of the 31 tasks because it considers the tasks to be low in priority; and (2) NRC merged the incomplete Action Plan tasks with generic issues into one management system, which replaced the Action Plan as a current statement of the actions necessary to improve nuclear power plant operations and regulation. GAO also found that: (1) the consolidation of all safety issues was reasonable because it allowed NRC to focus its work on the issues most important to safety regardless of how the issues were identified; (2) NRC has moved away from tracking the Action Plan; and (3) NRC should publicly report on the accomplishments of the plan and show how incomplete tasks will be pursued and reported on under the new management system.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On January 23, 1987, the Chairman, NRC, submitted its staff report to Congress, entitled One Time Report to Congress on TMI Items. The report addresses the 176 items listed in the Three Mile Island Action Plan and informs Congress on the utilities' and NRC progress in implementing the plan.

    Recommendation: To inform Congress on utilities' and NRC progress in implementing the Three Mile Island Action Plan, the Chairman, NRC, should report to Congress a one-time, item-by-item accounting of the 176 items listed in the Action Plan.

    Agency Affected: Nuclear Regulatory Commission


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