March 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) conducted 14 special inspections at nuclear power plants in 2012 to investigate safety-related events, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) said in a report on Thursday.
In the report, the UCS said 40 of the United States' 104 reactors had undergone one or more safety-related incidents or "near-misses" over the past three years.
None of the so-called near-misses harmed workers or the public, the UCS said.
The UCS recommended the NRC determine whether the agency's baseline inspections could have found the safety problems sooner. It also urged the NRC to require that plant owners find and fix problems in their testing and inspection procedures.
The UCS said there were 18 near-misses in 2010, 17 in 2011 and 16 in 2012 with several repeat offenders, including Wolf Creek in Kansas, Palisades in Michigan and Fort Calhoun in Nebraska.
Wolf Creek is majority owned by units of Great Plains Energy Inc and Westar Inc ; Entergy Corp owns Palisades; and the Omaha Public Power District owns Fort Calhoun.
Over the past couple of years, the NRC has required several reactors to remain shut until the plant owners can show they are meeting NRC safety requirements.
Three reactors are currently shut pending NRC approval: Southern California Edison's San Onofre 2 and 3 in California, and Fort Calhoun.