The Surry 1 and 2 nuclear power plant in Virginia is among 15 facilities across the country slated for more inspections after being classified "below average" in a Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff report, according to agency officials.
"A rating of below average does not mean the plant is unsafe," said Joseph Fouchard, a spokesman for the NRC. "The report is the result of an effort by the staff to assess the performance of the nuclear power plants and their managements so the commission can concentrate more resources on improving those facilities," he said.
The staff report was the NRC's first attempt to compare all 50 of the nation's operating nuclear power plants at the same time. The report, which relied on data through the end of 1980 for its analysis, found nine plants above-average and 26 average.
A spokesman for the Virginia Electric and Power Co., which owns Surry 1 and 2, located on the James River near Williamsburg, said its below-average rating stemmed from construction work at the plant that took place during the NRC's review.
"I believe our rating stemmed primarily from radiation exposure levels which were higher than average during the replacement of steam generators at our Surry plant," explained Paul G. Edwards, Vepco vice president for public affairs. "That work has been completed and I don't think there is any problem now."
NRC commissioners will review the findings of the report at a meeting sometime this week, according to Nunzi Palladino, NRC chairman. He refused to comment further.
While NRC Commissioner Victor Gilinsky said he was not surprised by the report's findings, he acknowleged that "there are problems in some of these cases that require more attention." Gilinsky said the report pointed out a greater need "for more management attention" at some of the nuclear facilities.
All plants were rated by the NRC on the basis of management quality, radiation and fire protection, compliance with regulations and occurrences that had to be reported to the commission during late 1979 and 1980.
Besides the Surry plant, other below-average rankings were: Arkansas 1 and 2 at Russellville, Ark.; Beaver Valley 1, Shippingport, Pa.; Browns Ferry 1, 2 and 3, Decatur, Ala.; Brunswick 1 and 2, Southport, N.C.; Davis-Besse, Oak Harbor, Ohio; Crystal River 3, Red Level, Fla.; James A. FitzPatrick, Scriba, N.Y.; Indian Point 2, Buchanan, N.Y.; Nine Mile Point 1, Scriba, N.Y.; Oyster Creek, Toms River, N.J.; Palisades, South Haven, Mich.; Pilgrim, Plymouth, Mass.; Rancho Seco, Clay Station, Calif.; and Salem 1 and 2, Salem, N.J.
The above-average plants were: Cooper at Brownville, Neb.; Farley Units 1 and 2, Dothan, Ala.; Fort Calhoun, Fort Calhoun, Neb.; Millstone 1 and 2, Waterford, Conn.; Oconee 1, 2 and 3, Seneca, S.C.; Point Beach 1 and 2, Two Crooks, Wis.; Prairie Island 1 and 2, Red Wing, Minn.; Vermont Yankee, Vernon, Vt., and Yankee Rowe, Rowe, Mass.
All other operating plants, including Vepco's North Anna 1 and 2, were rated average.