NRC finds Oconee Nuclear backup safety system not functional

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday the finding of an inoperable backup safety system at a South Carolina nuclear plant means increased oversight and inspection of Duke Energy‘s Oconee Nuclear Station near Seneca.

This summer, Oconee engineers determined pressurized heater breakers used in the station’s standby shutdown facility were not working properly. That facility is designed to shut down the plant in case something like a tornado or flood means normal shutdown modes can’t be used.

Oconee spokeswoman Sandra Magee says the problem was fixed promptly, and Duke is not appealing the findings.  “We’ve taken care of that,” Magee said. “They are good to go.”  “We take their assessment of plant performance very seriously,” Magee said. “This facility has never been needed in the 38 years of Oconee’s operation.”

“The breakers were subsequently replaced with fuses that testing shows remain operable,” NRC Region II Administrator Victor McCree said. “Throughout this process, Oconee continued to operate safely. However, this represents a significant problem involving a key safety system and warrants increased NRC inspection and oversight.”

NRC officials are coming back to Oconee in January for a follow-up inspection.

Source: AP News

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