Fuel oil tank rooms that serve the Brunswick Nuclear Plant’s emergency diesel generators did not have proper protection from possible flooding, said officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
This is a finding of “low to moderate safety significance” and will lead to increased inspection of the North Carolina facility, NRC officials said.
On the safety significance scale, this is a “white” finding, which is one step up from the lowest safety level of green.
The violation involved the failure to identify and correct issues in the fuel oil tank rooms that made them more susceptible to flooding during a hurricane, the NRC said. The emergency diesel generators power cooling systems for the reactors should the plant lose power off site. The nuclear plant in Japan had similar issues when a tsunami flooded the plant and generators causing the facility to lose power to the cooling generators which then caused a reactor meltdown.
An inspector from the NRC detailed the finding a Nov. 29 report. Company officials didn’t contest the finding and didn’t discuss the issue during a regulatory conference. They installed new sealant material to close openings on the oil tank rooms and constructed barriers to limit possible wave run-up to the facility.
The NRC says this finding will lead to more oversight for the Brunswick plant, including a supplemental inspection.