NRC Starts SC Plant Inspection

Friday, July 8, 2011 @ 03:07 PM gHale

A special inspection team is going to the Oconee nuclear power plant to evaluate an issue related to the plant’s standby shutdown facility, which sees use when regular and emergency reactor cooling systems are not available, said Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials.

The Oconee plant, operated by Duke Energy, is near Seneca, S.C., about 30 miles west of Greenville.

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Oconee plant employees determined June 24 testing on the standby shutdown facility pressurizer heater breakers was not successful and the breakers were operable but degraded.

The standby shutdown facility is for reactor cooling during certain accident scenarios, including fires and severe storms where other cooling systems might not be available or are inoperable.

The NRC’s special inspection team will determine the facts surrounding the degraded condition of the Oconee standby shutdown facility and evaluate Duke Energy’s response to that condition. The team will also assess Duke’s revised operating procedures related to the facility as well as operators’ training and capabilities to implement those procedures.

The special inspection started Tuesday and should continue for one week after which the NRC will issue a report within 45 days of the completion of the inspection.

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