A small amount of missing low-level uranium is still unaccounted for at a South Carolina nuclear facility.
A special inspection team with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced on October 1 what they know so far about 25 pounds of uranium pellets that disappeared from a Westinghouse facility near Columbia.
NRC spokesman Roger Hannah says this team has spent the past several months investigating the incident and says the most likely cause right that “this is a deliberate act by one or more employees.” Hannah says, “We have no reasons why someone would have done that.”
He says there was no evidence that there was intent to move the material. No one has been publicly identified in the investigation.
Investigators also say that it’s very unlikely that the material left the site.
“We concluded that the likely scenario was that the material remained on site and probably went back into the recycling process to be made into new fuel,” says Hannnah.
Westinghouse alerted the NRC as soon as they discovered the missing fuel pellets in May of this year. The investigation continues says Hannah. He says he is not sure yet if Westinghouse will be found in violation of nuclear regulations.
This is not the first time the plant lost materials. In 1997, workers lost two unenriched fuel rods. They eventually showed up at a nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic.