NRC to increase oversight of Harris nuke

The Harris nuclear power plant faces increased oversight from the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission due to violations linked to the ventilation systems for facilities at the Harris nuclear power plant that would be staffed during emergencies.

The Harris plant, which is operated by Duke Energy, is located near New Hill, N.C., about 20 miles southwest of Raleigh.

One violation involves the company’s failure to maintain the Emergency Operations Facility, or EOF, ventilation system, which was out of service for extended periods over two years. There was not an immediate safety concern because no emergencies requiring use of the facility occurred during that time.

The company was also cited for not notifying the NRC during the times that the ventilation system was degraded or out of service.

The NRC evaluates regulatory performance at commercial nuclear power plants with a color-coded system which classifies findings as green, white, yellow or red in increasing order of safety significance. The NRC staff determined that the violation involving the EOF ventilation system is a white finding, meaning it has low to moderate safety significance.

At Duke Energy’s request, the NRC staff held a Regulatory Conference on Aug. 24 to discuss the risk significance of the inspection finding with the company. After reviewing information from the inspection and the supplemental information provided by Duke during the conference, the staff concluded that the finding is appropriately characterized as “white.”

The finding puts Harris into the Regulatory Response Column on the NRC Action Matrix, meaning the plant will be subject to additional NRC inspections beyond the baseline inspections that are conducted at all nuclear plants.