NRC issues safety culture policy

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a safety culture policy statement intended to promote an "overriding" commitment to safety at the nation's nuclear facilities.

The statement features nine "traits," or behaviors meant to foster a positive environment for the safety and security of activities at nuclear power plants. The new guidance is not required as regulation but intended to put a "safety-first focus" on operations, the commission said in a press release.

The policy applies to all 104 nuclear reactors, including the two operating and one closed reactor at Millstone Power Station in Waterford.

The NRC defines safety culture as "an organization's collective commitment, by leaders and individuals, to emphasize safety as an overriding priority to competing goals and other considerations to ensure protection of people and the environment."

"The Policy Statement was developed with the input of a broad spectrum of stakeholders, ranging from our licensees to public interest groups," said NRC Chairman Gregory B. Jaczko. "By proactively engaging the public and our stakeholders at an early stage, we have been able to take a substantial step forward in promoting and maintaining safety and security at nuclear power and fuel cycle facilities, and in the security and usage of nuclear materials."

The nine traits include leadership safety values and actions, problem identification and resolution, personal accountability, work processes, continuous learning, environment for raising concerns, effective safety communication, respectful work environment and questioning attitude.

The statement was published Tuesday in the Federal Register.

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