NRC orders special inspection of Oconee nuclear plant in S.C.

Oconee Nuclear Power Plant
Oconee Nuclear Power Plant | Courtesy of Duke Energy
The U.S Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said this week that a special inspection would be carried out at Duke Energy’s Oconee Nuclear Station near Seneca, South Carolina, after issues were detected concerning power cables in two reactor units.

In December, a plant operator discovered that a power cable was disconnected from the startup transformer for Unit 3. The NRC report said this prompted further inspection that found that power cables connecting to the Unit 1 startup transformer were in poor condition.

The inspection will be carried out by the senior resident inspector assigned to the plant and an inspector from the NRC Region II office, with review support coming from an additional NRC expert based in Atlanta.

The inspection and review team will take the conditions surrounding this issue into consideration, and operator testing and maintenance practices also will be evaluated.

“There was not an event in which the startup transformers were needed, but they play a very important role in some circumstances by providing electrical power to plant-safety equipment,” Leonard Wert, acting NRC Region II administrator, said. “We felt a special inspection was warranted to gather more information about Duke’s response and also determine if there are generic issues that may apply to other plants.”

The report does not indicate whether there were any problems reported on power cables in Unit 2 of the Oconee facility.

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