Shortly after the April 1986 nuclear accident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in the Soviet Union, Secretary of Energy John S. Herrington requested that the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering provide an independent assessment of the implications of the accident for the safe operation of 11 of the Department of Energy's (DOE's) larger reactors. In response, the Academies formed the Committee to Assess Safety and Technical Issues at DOE Reactors, which in August 1986 began the study requested by the Secretary.
Safety Issues at the Defense Production Reactors provides an assessment of safety and technical issues at 4 of the 11 reactors. This review was completed by a committee whose members are experienced in reactor safety, particularly in the commercial and naval reactor fields. This committee reviewed extensive documentation from the DOE and its contractors, including departmental orders, testimony before Congress, safety analyses and incident reports, correspondence, audit and surveillance reports, minutes or meetings, and other documents, as well as several site visits explained in the report.