AR Nuke’s Safety Record Catches NRC Eye

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 @ 06:07 PM gHale

An inspection will begin in February at an Arkansas nuclear power plant where a worker died nearly 2½ years ago, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials said.

The 3,000 hour inspection at Arkansas Nuclear One, owned by Entergy Arkansas Inc., will be in addition to the 6,600 hours of normal annual inspections at the plant in Russellville, AR.

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The inspection will verify that Entergy holds its employees accountable and that maintenance ends up properly done, said Brian Tindell, a resident inspector for the NRC at the plant.

“This is going to be one of the first pivotal indicators of where (Entergy) is in its improvement,” Tindell said.

The NRC rates Arkansas Nuclear One, owned by Entergy Arkansas Inc., in “column four” of its overall performance ratings. It has the worst rating of all 100 nuclear plants in the country.

Arkansas Nuclear One received two yellow findings related to the fatal industrial accident at the facility that left a reactor reliant on power from backup generators for six days.

The results are somewhat less severe than the combination of a red and a yellow finding the NRC initially proposed. The NRC reiterated its conclusion that Entergy failed to adequately supervise the design and load testing of a lifting device that collapsed while moving a 525-ton generator stator.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued $175,000 in fines for several companies involved in the stator replacement.

An earlier NRC report recounted the stator fell onto the turbine building floor, rolled into a train bay 30 feet below and ruptured an eight-inch fire main. The accident killed a 24-year-old man, injured eight others, cut offsite power to unit 1 and cut one offsite power supply to unit 2, according to the report.