NRC plans Sept. 21 meeting with Wolf Creek over apparent violation

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will meet with officials from the Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Co. on Sept. 21 to discuss a preliminary finding regarding the licensee’s failure to adequately maintain emergency diesel generators at the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant located near Burlington, Kan.

The 8 a.m. meeting at the NRC’s Region IV office at 1600 E. Lamar Blvd., Arlington, Texas, is open to the public. NRC officials will answer questions from the public after the business portion of the meeting. A telephone bridge will be available for the meeting by calling 888-790-5880 and entering passcode 6252642.

Emergency diesel generators are used to supply power to safety-related systems in the event of a loss of off-site power. NRC requires that Wolf Creek have emergency diesel generators that must be tested monthly to ensure operability. During a test, one emergency diesel generator started as required, but failed three hours into a 24-hour run because of a faulty electrical component.

The issue did not pose an immediate safety concern because other means existed to supply emergency power to vital plant equipment had it been needed. Repairs have been made to the emergency diesel generator and a preventive maintenance strategy has been developed. The issue is described in an NRC inspection report.

The NRC evaluates regulatory performance at commercial nuclear plants with a color-coded process that classifies inspection findings as green, white, yellow or red in order of increasing safety significance. The NRC has preliminarily determined that the inspection finding has low to moderate (white) safety significance, which may require additional inspections, regulatory actions and oversight.

No decision on the final safety significance of the finding or any additional NRC actions will be made at the conference. That decision will be announced at a later time.