The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued annual assessment letters to the United State’s 104 operating commercial nuclear power plants. All the plants continue to operate safely.

“Our ongoing assessment of nuclear power plant performance is at the heart of the agency’s mission of protecting people and the environment,” said Frederick Brown, director of the division of inspection and regional support in the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation. “The 2007 year-end results show that about 80 percent of the plants are performing strongly enough that we’re satisfied with our basic level of inspections at those locations.”

If a nuclear power plant’s performance declines, the NRC assigns additional personnel to ensure the plant operator is taking the steps necessary to correct the situation. Only one plant, Palo Verde in Arizona, requires the NRC’s highest level of attention. It will continue to undergo additional inspections this year to confirm the plant’s performance issues are being addressed. Eight plants require significant NRC attention, and another eight plants will get some additional attention beyond the basic level.

Later this spring and summer, the NRC plans to meet publicly with the operators to discuss plant performance. In addition to the annual assessment letters, plants also receive an NRC inspection plan for the coming year. Updated information on plant performance is posted to the NRC Web site every quarter. The plants also receive a mid-cycle assessment letter during the year. The next mid-cycle letters will be issued in September 2008.

The assessment letters sent to each licensee are available on the NRC Web site at