Calvert Cliffs plant, while improved, stays on NRC 'watch list'


ROCKVILLE -- The Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant remained on a national "watch list" of four problem nuclear plants yesterday and will stay there for at least another six months, until the next semiannual regulatory review.

The twin-reactor plant in Southern Maryland, operated by Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., was placed on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission list in December 1988 for a precipitous decline in safe operating performance that the utility has labored to correct.

"We had previously understood that a period of event-free operation of both units will be required before the NRC will consider removing Calvert Cliffs from its list," said BG&E; spokesman Arthur J. Slusark.

"We expect that period to begin this spring."

The two reactors have not operated together since May 1989, when pressurizer leaks shut down Unit 2 for extensive repairs. BG&E; now hopes to receive approval to restart Unit 2 in March, following a favorable readiness assessment inspection by the NRC the week of Feb. 4.

In stating the federal agency's reasons for keeping Calvert Cliffs on the watch list, James M. Taylor, executive director for operations, noted that BG&E;'s performance improvement plans "appear to comprehensively address all known problems."

But he pointed out that "the number of staff errors experienced during the period due to inattention to detail and improper use of procedures remains a concern . . . additional management effort is warranted to continue the improving trend in procedure adherence."

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