‘Unusual event’ reported at nuclear station

No threat to public safety, according to Duke official

By Riley Morningstar and Lauren Pierce
Courtesy The Journal

SENECA — A Duke Energy official said a nuclear reactor at Oconee Nuclear Station was still shut down Monday afternoon, days after “an unusual event.”

Spokeswoman Mikayla Kreuzberger said in an email workers were going through plans to restart the unit after there was an “issue with pumps.” She added there was no fire after operators received fire detection indications from a different area within the unit.

Operators declared the unusual event at 3:57 a.m. Saturday. Kreuzberger said an unusual event is the lowest of four nuclear emergency classifications and “does not impact public safety.”

Oconee County Emergency Services emergency management director Scott Krein initially said Saturday crews responded to an “onsite fire brigade” around 4 a.m. The Keowee Fire Department was the first fire unit to make it to the station, Krein said Monday, and Duke Energy was still investigating the incident.


Federal agency comments

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Dave Gasperson said Monday afternoon Duke Energy notified the federal agency about the event “as required.”

“Our senior resident inspector at the plant responded immediately upon notification and observed the control room operators’ actions during the event,” he said in an email. “There was no risk to the public, and the plant’s safety systems worked as designed.”

He added the NRC would “continue to monitor Duke Energy’s analysis, their progress on troubleshooting activities and the restart of the unit.”

Duke is required to submit a Licensee Event Report (LER) to the NRC within 60 days, Gasperson said, and the report will be available to the public.

“These reports contain root causes and corrective actions undertaken by licensees,” he said. | (864) 973-6685 | (864) 973-6301