A drunken supervisor, a failed fire test, pouring tritium down the wrong hole and a siren that just won’t shut up

From today’s NRC Event Reports:

1. Last Friday, a contractor supervisor assigned to the new units under construction at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia tested positive for alcohol in a random Fitness for Duty test. The supervisor’s access to the plant has been terminated.

2. Neither of the Fire Suppression Pumps at the Fort Calhoun reactor will be available for scheduled testing for June or July, as much of the site is still flooded. Plant operators assure us that, were anything dry enough to catch fire, they could put it out using fire trucks mired on site or by drawing water from the Missouri River with temporary pumps. (Having to draw water from the Missouri strikes me as ironic. Isn’t that where the flood water came from?) The reactor is currently in cold shutdown.

3. The Prairie Island nuclear plant in Minnisota reported Saturday that tritium from a leak in the steam condensor system has sometimes been dumped in the plant’s septic system, rather than the normally monitored turbine building sump effluent path. I assure you that I’m not making this part up — seems that condensate from the leak collects in a five-gallon bucket which is dumped by plant personnel when it gets full. It’s not clear whether the workers just found it too difficult to take the buckets to the turbine building sump or whether they just didn’t know or care which hole the stuff was supposed to be poured into. In any case, Prairie Island assures us that the condensate will now be emptied into the properly-monitored pathway. Prairie Island reports that the leak has been  active since November of 2010. (And it hasn’t been fixed in all that time? Hmmm….)

4. And the Dresden nuclear facility in Illinois was notified Sunday by Grundy County officials that one of Dresden’s emergency sirens had been sounding for over an hour. Seems that during routine testing of the plant’s emergency systems, one of the sirens lost AC power and had switched to backup power, which does not respond to instructions to “Shut Up, Already” when Dresden gives the all clear. The siren stopped sounding when the backup battery was depleted.

As always, you can view Event Reports at www.nrc.gov.


About Robert Singleton

By day, I work for a call center. In my spare time, I try to save my hometown (and planet) from a nearly constant onslaught of greedheads, lunatics and land developers. I live in a fictional town called Austin, Texas, where I go to way too many meetings.
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