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CLINTON -- A nuclear radiation incident similar to the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeastern Japan is unlikely to happen at the Clinton nuclear plant, say Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials.

"All nuclear power plants are designed to handle the most severe, natural phenomenons such as earthquakes, flooding, tornadoes and things of that nature," said NRC public affairs spokesman Prema Chandrathil at a recent open house in Clinton. "But we will continue to evaluate such incidents as they had in Japan and see how they relate to our plants and make any changes if necessary."

The open house allowed the agency to discuss its assessment of safety performance for the previous year at the Clinton facility, operated by Exelon Generation Co.

NRC said the plant operated safely in 2010. All performance indictors and inspection findings were "green," the top level for performance indicators at nuclear plants. Performance indicators are statistical measurements of plant and equipment performance.

"Overall, the NRC determined that Clinton Power Station operated in a manner that preserved public health and safety and met all cornerstone objectives," said Mark Ring, Branch 1 Chief of Division of Reactor Projects. "All inspection findings had very low safety significance and all performance indicators indicated that the performance was within the nominal, expected range."

The NRC continually reviews the performance of the Clinton facility and the nation's other commercial nuclear power facilities, said Chandrathil. They use incidents such as Japan to reassess plants in the U.S.

"For instance, we learned a lot following the terrorist attacks in 2001, because it made us re-evaluate the plants and after that, we upgraded security and required all plants to be able to handle any kind of terrorist attack," she said. "The same thing will happen with Japan. We will have a short-term and a long-term review and fix any problems that we foresee."

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