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NRC will keep closer eye on Brunswick nuclear plant

ATLANTA, GA (NEWS RELEASE) — The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has determined that fuel oil tank rooms serving the Brunswick nuclear plant’s emergency diesel generators were not properly protected from possible flooding, a finding of “low to moderate safety significance” that will result in increased NRC inspection and oversight of the facility.

The two-unit plant is operated by Carolina Power & Light Co. near Southport, N.C., about 30 miles south of Wilmington.

NRC inspection findings are evaluated using a safety significance scale with four levels, ranging from “green” for very low significance, through “white” and “yellow” to “red” for high significance. The NRC concluded that the violation at Brunswick involved the failure to identify and correct conditions in the fuel oil tank rooms that made them susceptible to flooding during hurricanes is “white,” having “low to moderate safety significance.”

Emergency diesel generators are used to power cooling systems for the reactors if the plant should lose offsite power.

The violation was identified by an NRC inspector and was detailed in a Nov. 29 inspection report. CPL officials did not contest the risk significance of the finding and declined the opportunity to discuss the issue during a Regulatory Conference or provide a written response. In response to the finding, Brunswick officials have installed new sealant material to close the openings on the oil tank rooms, and barriers have also been erected to limit possible wave run-up to the facilities.

The white inspection finding will result in increased NRC oversight at Brunswick, which includes a supplemental inspection.

The final significance letter issued to CPL with more information on the issue is available from the Region II office or via the NRC website at www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. The number to access the letter is ML113610594.

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