INPO’s Role in Nuclear Safety
The Institute of Nuclear Power Operations’ (INPO) mission is to help establish and ensure the highest levels of safety and reliability in the operation of the United States’ fleet of commercial nuclear power plants. To do this, INPO collaborates openly with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the commercial nuclear industry. Click below to learn more.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
Sets baseline required safety standards
Institute for Nuclear Power Operations (INPO)
Facilitates collaboration between the NRC and the nuclear industry
Works with both INPO and NRC to ensure rigorous safety and reliability
What INPO Does
An Overview of INPO’s Mission and Tasks
INPO’s mission is: “To promote the highest levels of safety and reliability – to promote excellence – in the operation of commercial nuclear power plants.” To do this, the organization:
- Establishes performance objectives that exceed the minimum standards set by NRC;
- Collaborates with regulators by allowing NRC to monitor and review INPO’s inspection efforts;
- Conducts regular detailed evaluations of all nuclear power plants;
- Provides assistance to help nuclear power plants continually improve their performance; and
- Serves as a mediator between the industry and the NRC.
INPO and the Nuclear Industry
How INPO Supports Industry Safety
With 100 nuclear reactors licensed to operate, the United States is the world’s leader in the production of nuclear energy and is responsible for more than 30 percent of the worldwide nuclear power generation.
INPO works with the U.S. nuclear industry to help ensure nuclear energy facilities follow all regulations and benefit from industry-wide best practices through the following methods:
- Plant Evaluations – Evaluation teams go on-site to nuclear energy facilities to observe operations, analyze processes, and work with personnel to ensure rigorous safety standards;
- Training and Accreditation – INPO provides training and support for nuclear power professionals and evaluates training programs;
- Events Analysis – INPO reviews and analyzes all significant nuclear events to ensure that lessons learned are shared throughout the industry; and
- Assistance – When specifically requested, INPO assists with technical and management issues in areas related to plant operation and support.
INPO and the NRC
INPO Connects the NRC to the Nuclear Industry
The NRC is a federal agency that regulates nuclear reactors, materials and waste. The NRC aims to protect public health and safety; promote security; and protect the environment.
The ultimate goals of NRC and INPO are the same: they each strive to improve the safety of nuclear power plants – but their methods are different and complementary.
- INPO’s performance objectives and criteria are broader than the NRC’s and seek a level of performance above the minimum level required.
- NRC and INPO have written several memorandums of agreement aimed at building increased coordination between their respective activities. The memorandums are not legally binding.
- NRC actively monitors and reviews INPO’s inspection efforts.
- NRC issues regulations and has legal authority over nuclear utilities, while INPO generates peer pressure and facilitates shared learning to improve nuclear safety.