NRC Responds to Entergy’s Proposed Revisions to Pilgrim Plan

COURTESY PILGRIM NUCLEAR POWER STATION

PLYMOUTH –Entergy, the company which operates the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, has requested several revisions to a confirmatory action letter sent by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to improve safety at the plant. The NRC has deemed the revisions as acceptable.

The NRC states quarterly inspections have shown Pilgrim’s performance is improving, however it remains under category four of the NRC’s action matrix, which is the highest level of oversight.

Currently Pilgrim is one of the three plants nationally under this level of oversight, but the other two plants are about to be removed from that category.

“Once that occurs Pilgrim will be as of now the only plant in that category,” said NRC Spokesman Neil Sheehan.

According to the NRC, the proposed revisions will not impact the actions required to complete the commitments and will not impact the NRC’s inspection plan.

“Obviously Entergy is interested in seeing the plant moved back to a more normal level of oversight before shutdown next year, but the proof will be in the pudding,” said Sheehan.

At a hearing last month, NRC Regional Administrator for Region 1 David Lew said Pilgrim has made notable progress in its recovery in 2017 and early 2018.

“Our inspectors have observed continued emphasis and reinforcement to the Entergy staff by senior site leadership on standards, expectations and conservative operational decision making,” Lew said.

Lew provided several examples of conservative decision making including remaining at 70 percent power during an additional tidal cycle through Tropical Storm Jose last year to ensure that tide and wind effects would not challenge temperature limits in the intake while the plant was at full power.

Entergy also delayed the startup of Pilgrim and took precautions in anticipation of the effects of Winter Storm Skyler earlier this year.

“Also in response to a trip of the startup transformer Entergy conducted significant testing and inspections which led to the identification of an internal fault and the replacement of this risk significant transformer,” Lew said.

Pilgrim did not experience any scrams in 2017, which is significant as scrams led to the plant being placed under Column 4 and increased oversight.

The plant is slated for shutdown in 2019.

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