Catawba Nuclear Station meets safety audit standards

dworthington@heraldonline.comApril 24, 2014 

DUKEWATER

FILE. Catawba Nuclear Station on Lake Wylie.

2007 CHARLOTTE OBSERVER FILE PHOTO — Staff Photographer

— Federal inspections of the Catawba Nuclear Station on Lake Wylie show the plant meets public health, safety and other standards of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Gerald McCoy, the NRC projects chief who oversees the inspection at the Catawba Nuclear Station, said the plant was “all in the green,” the highest rating possible.

The NRC audit looked at plant performance in 2013 and the beginning of 2014. In 2013, there were no additional audits above what was scheduled. So far in 2014, there has been one additional audit resulting from problems with a malfunctioning diesel generator.

For 2013, there were 5,651 hours of inspections at the plant. There are two residential inspectors on-site.

Over the past two years, there have been several reported leaks of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen at the plant. The leaks were classified as a “non-emergency event” by the NRC and posed no public health risks.

The NRC said it will continue to conduct “baseline” inspection of the two Catawba station units, including a problem identification and resolution inspection, an emergency preparedness exercise and a flooding and seismic evaluation based on new regulations after the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami which severely damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant.

NRC officials discussed their findings Thursday during a meeting at the Rock Hill City Hall.

The units are owned by Duke Energy, the N.C. Electric Membership Corp., the N.C. Municipal Power Agency, and the Piedmont Municipal Power Agency.

Duke Energy operates the nuclear power plant.

Unit 1 went operational in 1985 and Unit 2 the following year. The pressurized water reactor is fueled by uranium dioxide. The station’s power capacity is 2,258 megawatts.

Don Worthington •  803-329-4066

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