Safety check

On-site inspections in Virginia find no major problems

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Print this page by Paula C. Squires

Following the nuclear crisis in Japan, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) performed on-site inspections of the 104 nuclear-powered plants in the U.S., including Virginia’s units at North Anna Power Station and Surry Power Station.  The inspections occurred April 29.

The NRC said that it wanted to assess their capability to respond to extraordinary consequences similar to the earthquake and tsunami that struck a Japanese nuclear power station.

Roger Hannah, a spokesman for the NRC, said it found only “minor” observations at Virginia’s two plants, in keeping with what it found across the country.  According to a summary posted at the NRC’s website, while the inspections did uncover “a potential industry trend of failure to maintain equipment and strategies” required to mitigate damage during an extraordinary emergency, none of the observations posed a significant safety issue.

For instance, at Surry Power Station, the inspection report said a small portable generator failed to start and no procedure was in place to test a portable diesel-driven fire pump, so its ability to provide an assumed flow during an emergency had not been verified. This observation was included in a correction action plan and will be addressed, says David Heacock, president and chief nuclear officer of the Dominion Nuclear business unit of Dominion Generation, a subsidiary of Dominion Resources.

On June 20, Dominion shut down one of the nuclear reactors at Surry, after cooling ducts showed indications of overheating.  The unit had just come back on line June 17, after being shut down for two months for routine maintenance. The ducts cool the electrical conductors that provide power to the station’s main transformers. 

Reports on Dominion’s units are available at these links provided via the NRC website:
North Anna

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