Inspectors: Safety problems at York Co. nuclear station

Inspectors: Safety problems at York Co. nuclear station

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by TONY BURBECK / NewsChannel 36 Staff

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

WCNC.com

Posted on July 27, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 27 at 8:36 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A preliminary report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission outlines potential violations Duke Energy could face stemming from a loss of offsite power at the Catawba Nuclear Station in York County.

The Catawba Nuclear Station lost offsite power to both reactors April 4, 2012.  The report cites a programming error which impacted power circuits when the main generator tripped to high power.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission rates findings by colors - green, white, yellow and red - according to their significance, with green at the low end and red at the high end.

In this case, the offsite power lost to reactor one is considered "yellow" on that scale.

"A finding with substantial safety significance that will result in additional NRC inspections and potentially other NRC action," according to the scale.

When it comes to losing offsite power to reactor two, the NRC considers it "greater than green" on the scale but, "with a greater than very low safety significance that may result in the need for further evaluation."

That's because reactor two was not in power operation mode at the time.

Overall, the preliminary findings are a lot of technical talk, but could mean more inspections. NRC inspectors already work at the plant.

Duke says backup generators kicked in immediately just like they were supposed to when the plant lost offsite power. No radiation was released and there was never any danger to the public.

The preliminary findings come from what Duke self-reported to the NRC.

Duke has 10 days to respond.

The NRC has not made a final determination.  For now, no notice of violations has been issued.

 

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