Errors at Turkey Point Nuke

Friday, February 17, 2012 @ 02:02 PM gHale

There are violations in Turkey Point nuclear plant’s on-site emergency response facility because Florida Power & Light Co. failed to properly maintain it, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials said.

In 2010 and 2011, workers twice disabled portions of the plant’s technical support center ventilation system, which would have left the facility near Homestead unusable during an emergency, the NRC said.

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FPL also failed to inform the NRC that the technical support center was inoperable, an apparent violation of NRC requirements.

That violation is being evaluated using the NRC’s traditional enforcement process and could result in a civil penalty.

“The main thing for us is that this is a preliminary assessment,” said Peter Robbins, a spokesman for FPL’s parent company, NextEra Energy. “This is not the commission’s final determination. They want to meet with us and discuss it. It is important for people to know this issue never presented a risk to the health and safety of the public.”

Robbins said the company disagrees the facility was unusable and thus maintains it did not have to report the maintenance that was being performed.

The technical support center is a safe area where employees would go during an emergency, Robbins said.

The NRC evaluates regulatory performance at commercial nuclear power plants with a color-coded process that classifies regulatory findings as either green, white, yellow or red, in order of increasing safety significance.

The failure to properly maintain the ventilation system has been preliminarily determined by the NRC to be “white,” or of low to moderate safety significance. The NRC will meet with FPL officials to discuss the matter.

No decision on enforcement action will be made at the meeting. NRC officials will review information presented by FPL and reach a decision on appropriate regulatory action at a later date.

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