In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its strain on available nuclear plant personnel, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is allowing power reactor operators to apply for temporary exemptions from regulations limiting the amount of hours workers can stay on the job, according to a letter released by the agency on Monday. In addition, the NRC staff is also working on a separate memorandum that will guide nuclear plants as to which labor and time-intensive tasks they can temporarily waive, such as many of the inspections during refueling outages. Nuclear reactors have already been enacting contingency plans designed to limit the amount of workers onsite in order to avoid exposure to the coronavirus. It is unknown how long nuclear reactors will need operate with these reductions in staff and maintenance tasks, and whether they can stay running as often as they do in normal times.
Utility Dive 31st March 2020 read more »