A plant outside Columbia that makes nuclear fuel assemblies has voluntarily shut down after federal regulators found excessive amounts of uranium buildup this month.
A Nuclear Regulatory Commission augmented inspection team said it is assessing higher-than-allowed uranium levels that accumulated in an air scrubber at the Westinghouse Columbia Site plant. The NRC said there was no safety risk, but the potential existed “for safety-related consequences.” The inspectors are still trying to determine the cause of the “excessive” buildup and ensure Westinghouse has taken the necessary steps to address it.
Westinghouse has voluntarily shut down the plant for now. A company spokeswoman told The State newspaper that 170 of its employees are being given “temporary work reductions” while the plant is closed. The employees are being offered no-interest loans during the shutdown.
The company makes the fuel assemblies that are used to power nuclear plants. More than 1,000 people work at the plant.