CT Nuke Sees White, Hike in Oversight

Thursday, October 23, 2014 @ 06:10 PM gHale


Connecticut’s nuclear plant is getting stepped up oversight after a safety violation, a federal agency said Tuesday.

The Millstone Power Station in Waterford, CT, faces citations for failure to address repetitive problems with a pump that is part of a backup safety system, said officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

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The pump, which helps cool the reactor in the event of an emergency shutdown, did not end up operated properly from May 2013 through February of this year.

“What concerns the NRC is that despite repeated efforts to repair this important component, the problems persisted and called into the question the pump’s past reliability,” said David Lew, the NRC’s acting regional administrator.

In response to the violation, the NRC will perform a team inspection at the plant, agency spokesman Neil Sheehan said.

The plant traced the problem to a pump bearing that did not meet specifications even though it came from the manufacturer with the correct part and model numbers, said Millstone spokesman Ken Holt. He said the pump has been operating properly since they replaced the bearing.

Millstone, owned by Richmond, VA-based Dominion Resources Inc., supplies half of all power in Connecticut and 12 percent of New England.

NRC issued a “white” inspection finding for the issue with the pump on Unit 3, meaning an issue of low to moderate safety significance.

Holt said the last time the NRC cited Millstone for a violation of the same severity was for an incident in February 2011 when the power level on a reactor increased when it should not have as operators tested control valves.



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