LUSBY, MD., AUG. 10 -- A team of international nuclear experts began a safety review of the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant today, the first such inspection of a U.S. reactor by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The 15-member inspection team, which will spend Aug 10 through 28 scrutinizing the plant, was greeted by Lando Zech Jr., chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Zech expressed hope that all 109 nuclear plants in the United States would benefit from the review of Calvert Cliffs, which is beside the Chesapeake Bay in Southern Maryland.
Officials of the international agency said they are visiting Calvert Cliffs to help further the international exchange of ideas for improving nuclear plant safety. Calvert Cliffs is owed by Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., which volunteered to take part in the review.
Charles Franklin, a spokesman for BG&E, said among the items the inspectors would review are radiation safety, plant maintenance, plant management, staff training and engineering.
Most of the about 20 operational safety reviews previously conducted by the Vienna-based international agency were of nuclear reactors in developing nations, Franklin said.
The utility spokesman said the Calvert Cliffs reactor had a "much better than average" safety record during its first decade of operation, but he conceded it "is not blemish-free." The first unit of the plant opened in May 1975 and the second unit opened in April 1977.
In 1983, an NRC study cited the Calvert Cliffs plant as one of six reactors nationwide that had not reduced chances of a dangerous core meltdown to one in 10,000 years of operations. BG&E officials contended the study was based on out-of-date and incorrect information.
Franklin said he expected the findings of the review by the middle of October.