NRC begins special inspection at Brunswick

29 September 2009

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has dispatched a Special Inspection Team to the Brunswick nuclear power plant, operated by Progress Energy near Southport on the southeastern coast of North Carolina. The team will inspect and assess circumstances associated with a malfunction of one of the plant’s four emergency diesel generators.

During return to service testing on 19 September, Emergency Diesel Generator #4 shut down prematurely and would not restart. Since the problem could not be corrected within the time frame required by technical specifications, Progress was required to shut down both reactors on 20 September. Progress officials believe the generator failure was caused by problems associated with the engine’s governor.

The NRC’s three-person Special Inspection Team, which includes one region-based inspector, one resident inspector from another site and the senior resident inspector stationed at the Brunswick site, is developing a sequence of events related to the issue. The team will be reviewing the company’s actions following discovery; evaluating the adequacy of the company’s past post-maintenance testing; and identifying any generic issues for Brunswick or other nuclear plants.

The special inspection began on Friday 25 September and is expected to continue until early October. The NRC will issue a report within 45 days of the completion of the inspection

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