NRC to hold yearly public review of Millstone

Waterford - Two public meetings will be held Thursday by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to review Millstone Power Station's recent favorable annual safety assessment.

The Nuclear Energy Advisory Board will hear a presentation by NRC staff from 6 to 8 p.m. and question NRC about the nuclear complex's operations over the past year, which the NRC has found were safe. Dominion Nuclear Connecticut is the operator.

Earlier, from 2 to 4 p.m., the public can learn one-on-one from NRC on-site inspectors and their supervisor about operations and performance at the site, which hosts two operating reactors. Both meetings will be held at Waterford Town Hall at 15 Rope Ferry Road.

Millstone had a total of 14 "green" findings over the past year, including four in the last quarter. "Green" findings are considered "more than minor" but of low safety significance.

As a result of the findings, Millstone will continue to receive the standard NRC inspections used for plants that are operating well, the NRC said.

In his quarterly report, released in February, Donald Jackson, one of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Region 1 branch chiefs and a supervisor of Millstone's resident inspectors, identified four instances of technical problems that yielded green findings.

All four incidents were preventable, Jackson found, but Millstone owner Dominion Nuclear Connecticut took appropriate measures to address the problems once they occurred. Two were labeled "non-cited" violations, meaning they are "very low" in safety significance and were entered into the company's corrective action program.

The incidents and their associated corrective actions included:

• Installing a long-term uninterruptible power supply to fix a recurring electrical problem at the Unit 2 reactor that resulted in a power loss on Nov. 15;

• Revising procedures to address improper calibration, also on Nov. 15, of a handful of temperature-measuring devices in a cooling monitoring system;

• A correction made after a reactor vessel vent did not work properly on Oct. 10 because a manual valve had been positioned incorrectly, so that water backed up instead of draining properly.

Steps are now under way to correct the approach to installing a rain guard on a transformer at the Unit 2 reactor on Oct. 6, which led to a power surge that could have caused an automatic shutdown, and resulted in a manual shutdown.

Jackson determined that Dominion failed to conduct reviews that would have added precautions and led to postponement of the work until the reactor was offline for refueling.

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