U.S. regulators have considered letting nuclear power plants defer some maintenance and inspections as the coronavirus threatens availability of workers.
The NRC expects to issue guidelines on Friday for operators to request permission for employees to work longer than allowed under current regulations as well as additional sections on covering maintenance.
Although the NRC hasn’t yet received any such requests, the changes under consideration reflect the potential that the virus could infect power-plant workers and impact maintenance plans.
Regulators are anticipating that plant operators may need to invoke hardship clauses to justify diverting from existing regulations.
“The hardship would specifically seem to apply to those inspections that require personnel and-or equipment to be brought on site that could inadvertently spread the Covid virus to plant personnel,” Rob Taylor, a deputy director at NRC’s office of nuclear reactor regulation, said during a conference call Friday.