ROCKVILLE -- Operations at the Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant are improving steadily, but not enough to remove the plant from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's watch list, an NRC official says.
Regional Administrator Tim Martin said yesterday the plant is "headed in the right direction," but told the commission that Calvert Cliffs still is not in the clear.
"We need to see it work," Martin said.
Recently, the plant changed its focus to stress quality and safety, he added, with a major management reorganization in October.
"They've got the right staff with a greater emphasis on operations. Everyone is focused on the same issues," said Martin, who praised plant manager Robert Denton's managerial skills. Denton also has more authority under the reorganization, Martin said.
Despite its progress, the facility has completed only about 50 percent of its improvement plan, said Martin. Also, the NRC wants to see how Calvert Cliffs operates with both units running before it will stop heavy monitoring, he said.
Unit 2 is scheduled to start operating at the end of February. An NRC reassessment team is to inspect the plant during the first week of the month unless the plant postpones its start-up date. Before the unit can operate, a checklist of about 600 maintenance and administrative items must be completed, he said.
In six months, the commission is to review the status of the plants on its watch list. Martin said he doubts the plant will be removed from the list this year because both units will be running simultaneously for such a short time.