Fire Protection for Operating Reactors

On March 22, 1975, a fire at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant, operating near Decatur, Alabama, fundamentally changed the concept of fire protection and associated regulatory requirements for U.S. nuclear power plants (NPPs). After that fire, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) revised its fire protection regulations to ensure plant safety by reducing the likelihood of fire and the consequences of any fires that might occur. Each licensee must maintain a robust fire protection program and ensure the ability to shut down the reactor safely in the event of a fire. The NRC also uses operational experience and information about actual fire events in the United States and elsewhere to apply the lessons learned to regulatory decisions affecting commercial nuclear power plants. Since the Browns Ferry Fire, no subsequent fire at a U.S. commercial nuclear power plant has affected the safe operation of a reactor. All current operating reactor facilities are operating safely.