The Clinton nuclear power plant lost all offsite communications abilities yesterday afternoon when utility workers offsite accidentally cut an underground cable, severing the phone lines to the plant. Lost systems included the plant’s Health Physics Network, Emergency Notification System and the Emergency Response Data System, which sends information to the NRC in an accident. The phone line was restored more than three hours later.
The nuclear industry always touts its redundancy, with backup safety systems to reduce the possibility of a serious accident. Apparently, emergency communications is the exception, when a single offsite accident can leave a nuclear plant unable to communicate with the NRC.