NRC Chief to Participate in Scheduled Pilgrim Inspection

COURTESY PILGRIM NUCLEAR POWER STATION

PLYMOUTH – The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth is less than four-weeks away from its next routine inspection.

While this particular re-qualification exam is required every two years, this one may have Pilgrim officials worried based on who will be accompanying the inspectors to the plant.

Donald Jackson, Chief of Operations for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s North-east region, will join in on the inspection, which in this case includes both a written and performance component.

“He will be there in particular because Pilgrim was in Colum four of the NRC’s Action Matrix,” said NRC Spokesman Neil Sheehan, “in other words they are one of only three reactors nationwide that are under this heightened level of scrutiny.”

“We would point out that this is something that all plants undergo and this is not out of the ordinary,” continued Sheehan, “but nevertheless because of Pilgrim’s current status Mr. Jackson wanted to be on hand to see how they perform.”

Jackson has previously written an internal e-mail claiming that Pilgrim employees were “overwhelmed just trying to run the station.”

The comments came last winter after Jackson led a team of more than a dozen inspectors on a thorough, three week long evaluation of the facility.

The plants last inspection came last month and contained five “green”, or very low safety significance non-cited violations, one severity Level IV violation and one violation identified by Entergy.

“If we identify issues that we believe need to be cited, and therefore demand corrective actions on the part of the company, we won’t hesitate to put those out there,” said Sheehan.

Two of the green inspection findings are associated with an event that took place on March 31.

At that time, operators incorrectly realigned valves, causing 55,000 gallons of water to rush out of a storage tank and into the base of the reactor.

Inspection findings included a failure to follow procedures and failure by Pilgrim control room operators to recognize an issue with the water level indicators.

Another two of the inspection findings were associated with Entergy removing the safety function of standby gas and secondary containment.

The next inspection is scheduled for September 24th.

By DAVID BEATTY, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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