Callaway Plant Passive Reactor Shutdown

Analysis of the October 21, 2003 Unintentional Passive Reactor Shutdown at Callaway Plant with regard to aspects of Reactivity Management, Corporate and Regulatory Oversight, Nuclear Safety Culture, and Operating Experience

Lawrence Stephen Criscione


This paper analyzes a reactivity management event at a US NPP (Nuclear Power Plant) which resulted in the unrecognized inadvertent passive shutdown of the reactor. The event was not documented in the NPP’s Corrective Action Program by the operating crew involved and was not reported by the utility to the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC, the nuclear regulatory authority) or to the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO, the industry consortium to which the plant is a member and is expected to report significant operating experience). This paper provides: (1) a description and analysis of the event, (2) analysis of the plant’s response to the event and the shortcomings of relying on corporate self-regulation, (3) analysis of potential shortcomings in the US nuclear industry’s Operating Experience collection efforts, (4) analysis of the regulatory challenges pertaining to the response to events that clearly are adverse to the nuclear Safety Culture yet do not clearly violated any regulations, and (5) the difficulties faced by the regulator with regard to discriminating between and making judgments of “gross negligence†and “dereliction of dutyâ€. The description of the event, the organizational responses to it, and the listed references contain valuable examples of shortcomings involving Reactivity Management, nuclear Safety Culture, Nuclear Criticality Safety, Corporate Oversight, and Regulatory Agility.


Reactivity Management Safety Culture Criticality Nuclear


Letter from Elmo Collins to Representative Oxford (ML113220478), 2011-11-17

Letter from Criscione to Borchardt (ML12237A172), 2012-08-15

NUREG-0660, Vol. 1, NRC Action Plan Developed as a Result of the TMI-2 Accident (ML072470526), 1980-May

SECY-98-228, Proposed Streamlining and Consolidation of AEOD Functions and Responsibilities (ML992870065), 1998-10-01

NRC Information Notice 2011-02: Operator Performance Issues Involving Reactivity Management at Nuclear Power Plants (ML101810282), 2011-01-31

Letter from Vegel to Criscione (FOIA 2010-0227), 2010-02-26

Testimony of David Lantz to NRC (FOIA 2009-0064, Exhibit 22), 2008-04-01

Testimony of Gerald Rauch to NRC (FOIA 2009-0064, Exhibit 14), 2008-03-31

Testimony of Ardell Lee Young to NRC (FOIA 2009-0064, Exhibit 16), 2008-03-31

Callaway Action Request 200702606, Shutdown for NN11, October of 2003 (ML12237A172), 2007-03-20

Petition Closure Letter to Lawrence S. Criscione Related to Requested Action Under 10CFR2.206 Regarding October 21, 2003 Event at Callaway Plant, Unit 1 (ML110140104), 2011-01-19

Callaway Action Request 200701278, Analysis of Past Reactor Shutdowns – RF15 Preparation Concerns (ML12237A172), 2007-02-10

email from Criscione to Adam Heflin (ML12237A172), 2007-11-13

email from Criscione to Fadi Diya (ML12237A172), 2007-08-30

email from Criscione to Fadi Diya (ML12237A172), 2007-10-01

email from Criscione to Ellis Merschoff (ML12237A172), 2007-10-30

email from Criscione to David Neterer (ML12237A172), 2007-06-01

email from Criscione to Charles Naslund (ML12237A172), 2007-05-30

email from Criscione to David Hollabaugh (ML12237A172), 2007-05-14

email from Criscione to Elmo Collins (ML12237A172), 2011-06-03

Letter from INPO to Jeanette Oxford, 2009-01-30

Report of Investigation 4-2009-043F - Exhibit 1 (FOIA 2010-0338), 2009-05-07

Letter to Honorable Jeannette [sic] Mott Oxford Related to the 10/21/2003, Shutdown at Callaway Plant (ML12167A508), 2012-04-20

Letter from Vegel to Criscione (FOIA 2012-0315), 2011-07-25

Non-Concurrence on NRC Information Notice 2011-02, Operators Performance Issues Involving Reactivity Management at Nuclear Power Plants (ML110420293), 2010 12 15

Letter from Criscione to Michael Peck (FOIA 2010-0109), 2007-03-01

Letter from Harry Freeman to Criscione (FOIA 2010-0109), 2007 08 07

Office of Investigations Case No. 4-2007-049, Callaway Plant: Failure to Document a Temperature Transient by Control Room Personnel (FOIA 2009-0011), 2008 05 09

Letter from Criscione to Bill Jones (FOIA 2012-0313), 2009-02-28

Letter from Criscione to Hubert Bell (FOIA 2012-0314), 2011-01-20

Letter from Criscione to Bill Borchardt (ML103280306), 2010-09-17

Letter from Criscione to Bill Borchardt (ML101200401), 2010-04-27

Union of Concerned Scientists, Issue Brief, 2003 Segmented Shutdown at Callaway, 2010-11-02

Internal NRC emails Concerning October 2003 incident (ML12352A227), 2010-02-08

Briefing Package for Drop-In Visit by Union Electric Company Official with NRC Staff on August 13, 2010 (ML11363A113), 2010-08-05

Principles for a Strong Nuclear Safety Culture, INPO, 2004 November

Staff's Initial Incident Report [re: 2005 Taum Sauk Upper Reservoir Failure], 2007 10 24;CMSInternetData/Electric/Taum%20Sauk%20Report%2010-24-07

Three Mile Island, A Report to the Commissioners and to the Public, Rogovin et. al., 1980-January

Letter from INPO to NRC (ML070260180), 2007-01-12

Letter from NRC to INPO (ML070940486), 2007-04-27

Callaway, Unit 1, Current Facility Operating License NPF-30, Tech Specs, Revised 6/27/2007 (ML053110040), 1984-10-18

NRC IN 92-39, Unplanned Return to Criticality during Reactor Shutdown (ML031200314), 1992-05-13

Report of The President's Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island, Kemeny et. al., 1979-October

NRC IN 97-62, Unrecognized Reactivity Addition during Plant Shutdown (ML031050177), 1997-08-06

Surry Power Station – NRC Integrated Inspection Report 05000280, 05000281/2005002 and 07200002/2005001 (ML051090591), 2005-04-19

Callaway Plant – NRC Integrated Inspection Report 05000483/2007003 (ML072140876), 2007-08-02

SOER (WANO – Significant Operating Experience Report) methodology and analysis, Ir. René Lauwers, BNEN – University of Ghent, 2009

Full Text: PDF


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

"No endorsement" policy: Unless explicitly stated otherwise, the opinions, analyses, discussions, views and recommendations outlined in the articles published in the International Nuclear Safety Journal (INSJ) are solely those of their respective authors and not of the editors, owners or publishers of the INSJ.