NRC increases oversight of St. Lucie plant in Florida

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff is increasing its oversight of the NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE) St. Lucie Unit 1 due to violations linked to plant operators’ failure to ensure that the reactor’s auxiliary building was watertight.

St. Lucie 1 is listed with an operating capacity of roughly 840 MW. Like St. Lucie 2, the facility is a pressurized water reactor (PWR) owned by NextEra utility subsidiary Florida Power & Light (FPL). The station is located in Jensen Beach, Fla.

The finding, originally documented in a Sept. 24 NRC inspection report, was found to be “white,” or of low to moderate safety significance, NRC said in a Nov. 20 news release.

The NRC evaluates inspection findings and performance indicators at commercial power plants with a color-coded system which classifies them as green, white, yellow or red, in increasing order of safety significance. With the white finding, St. Lucie Unit 1 will receive an increased level of inspection and oversight.

FPL did not contest the safety significance of the finding, and has agreed to corrective actions that include repair of flood seals, flood response procedure revisions, additional site visual inspections of flood protection features and program improvements to ensure external flood barrier integrity.

In addition to the white finding, NRC also assessed a Severity Level III violation against FPL for failure to provide the NRC with complete and accurate information on the condition of the flood barriers at St. Lucie. Civil penalties for that violation were waived because St. Lucie has not been the subject of escalated enforcement actions for the last two years and has undertaken the necessary corrective actions.

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.