The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will increase inspections and oversight of the Robinson Nuclear Power Plant in Hartsville as a result of several past events which occurred at the plant. In March of 2010, there was an unplanned shutdown and two small fires in the plant’s electrical system.
Spokesman for the commission, Roger Hannah emphasized that the Robinson plant continues to be operated in a safe manner.
What we are doing as an agency is simply doing follow-up inspections and increasing oversight to make sure that we understand some performance issues they’ve had within the last year or so, and make sure that they have taken corrective actions to address those issues and that those corrective actions are sufficient to prevent recurrence of those issues.
Hannah says that all of these issues, in conjunction with the inspection, prompted the NRC’s follow-up.
We did an augmented inspection, or a detailed inspection of that particular event and we’ve been reviewing data and information from that inspection. We’ve finally made a significance determination, or a safety determination on some of the issues stemming from that event, and it resulted in what we call two white inspection findings.
According to Hannah, a “white” finding means there’s a low to moderate reduction in safety, or fairly low safety significance. The color-coded system was implemented about 10 years ago to evaluate safety and operations at a commercial nuclear power plant. “Green” means you’re meeting regulatory expectation and there are no reductions in safety. “White” means there is a low to moderate reduction in safety, or fairly low safety significance.
If it goes up, “yellow” and “red” being much greater safety significance, the commission will look at those and determine what they want to do in response to that.
Hannah says there were several findings at the plant:
They were also dealing with a “white” finding that related to emergency diesel generators at the plant. In addition to that, they had a white performance indicator which is an objective measurement of some of the operating parameters at the plant that related to unplanned shutdowns in the plant last year.
Hannah says the NRC is planning a supplemental inspection which will be a detailed team review sometime in the next few months. They will look at whether the safety issues were appropriately addressed and whether they have taken the appropriate corrective actions.
“Once that’s completed, if we are satisfied, if they have taken the appropriate steps, then we will reduce the oversight at that point,” says Hannah.