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In response to a congressional request, GAO assessed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) efforts to provide the public with reasonable assurance that nuclear power plants operate safely, specifically how NRC: (1) minimizes the risks associated with operating the plants; (2) enforces its safety standards; and (3) finds violations of the standards.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Nuclear Regulatory Commission 1. The Chairman, NRC, should develop guidelines to use as a framework in deciding the types and degree of safety problems that constitute undue risk such that NRC would consider shutting a plant down.
Closed - Not Implemented
NRC believes it already has a formal and deliberative process for making decisions that a plant should be shut down, even in major safety situations where a utility may not recognize that a shutdown is appropriate. NRC does not want to develop guidelines specifically setting forth criteria that the public and utilities could look at to determine the basis upon which plants would be shut down.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission 2. The Chairman, NRC, should develop annually consolidated information for all operating plants showing the status of corrective actions planned or taken by the utilities.
Closed - Not Implemented
NRC does not believe initiating an annual consolidation of corrective actions would enhance its ability to ensure the continued protection of public health and safety. Although GAO pointed out advantages to consolidating information on corrective actions taken by utilities, NRC plans on relying on its system that is already in place to provide it information on the status of corrective actions.

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