(The following press release from the NRC was received by e-mail. The sender
verified the statement.)
NRC BEGINS SPECIAL INSPECTION AT OYSTER CREEK NUCLEAR PLANT TO REVIEW ISSUES AT
SITE DURING HURRICANE SANDY
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has initiated a Special Inspection at the
Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in response to issues that arose when
Hurricane Sandy impacted the facility on Oct. 29 and 30. The inspection began
today at the plant, which is located in Lacey Township (Ocean County), N.J.,
and operated by Exelon.
The team of three NRC inspectors is reviewing the circumstances surrounding the
company’s event declaration activities related to water level increases at the
plant’s water intake structure during the storm. The Special Inspection will
expand on reviews conducted during and after the storm by the NRC Resident
Inspectors assigned to Oyster Creek.
There were no actual impacts on the plant’s, NRC’s or state’s emergency
response posture. All three entities were monitoring the storm’s arrival and
potential impacts, with the emergency response facilities already staffed.
“Because the reactor was out of service at the time of the storm for a
previously scheduled refueling and maintenance outage, plant operators did not
have to contend with the possibility of a reactor shutdown as Sandy passed
through the area. There were no immediate safety concerns,” Region I
Administrator Bill Dean said. “Nevertheless, there are certain observations
involving procedures and on-site activities that surfaced during the event
warranting a closer look. This Special Inspection will focus on those areas to
gain a better understanding of how the intake water level information was
monitored and communicated during the event.”
As water rose in the plant’s water intake structure on Oct. 29, operators
declared an “Unusual Event” – the lowest of four levels of emergency
classification used by the NRC – at 6:55 p.m. when the level topped 4.5 feet
above mean sea level. Subsequently, at about 8:45 p.m., an “Alert” was declared
when the water level was 6 feet above mean sea level at the structure. An Alert
is the second-lowest level of emergency classification. The water level rose
due to a combination of a rising tide, wind direction and storm surge.
Diane Screnci, (610) 337-5330
Neil Sheehan, (610) 337-5331
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