NRC plans more flooding regulation oversight for Point Beach

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is increasing its regulatory oversight of the NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) Point Beach nuclear plant in Wisconsin for failure to ensure appropriate procedures were in place for a potential flood.

NRC announced the increased oversight Aug. 9 for Units 1 and 2. Point Beach is located in Two Rivers, Wis., approximately 13 miles northeast of Manitowoc.

Point Beach is a two-unit, pressurized water reactor (PWR) station with a total generating capacity of more than 1,200 MW.

NRC has been increasing its emphasis on flood precaution since the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan.

Also, in June of 2011 Missouri River floodwaters surrounded Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power plant in Nebraska. The Nebraska Public Power District reactor had been shut down in April 2011 for scheduled refueling, but the plant remained closed during the summer due to persistent flood waters. It has yet to return to service.

The Exelon (NYSE:EXC) Three Mile Island-1 plant in Pennsylvania has also been cited for a flooding protection issue this year.

An NRC inspector identified the Point Beach violation during an inspection conducted from January to March. The violation involved the failure of the plant to have procedures to prescribe how to protect safety-related equipment in the turbine building and pump house from potential lake flooding.

The NRC staff held a regulatory conference in July to discuss the risk significance of the preliminary finding. After reviewing the NRC inspection and information presented by the company, the NRC staff concluded the violation should be classified as “white,” meaning it has a low to moderate safety significance.

The company has taken corrective actions to address the violation and has additional actions planned in order to prevent recurrence. The NRC will conduct a supplemental inspection.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.