What does it take to shut down a nuke? Apparently more than an identied fire safety problem

An item in Friday’s NRC Event Reports said that a review of station batteries at the South Texas Project revealed that the control ciruit for the Turbine Generator Emergency Lube Oil pump is unfused. The safety implications, according to the report:

The concern is that … a fire in one fire area can damage these circuits and cause short circuits without protection that would overheat the cables and possibly result in secondary fires in other fire areas where the cables are routed. The secondary fires could adversely affect safe shutdown equipment and potentially cause the loss of the ability to conduct a safe shutdown….

My concern: If you know that continued operation of the station’s two reactors could result in a fire and potentially prevent safe shutdown, why are the reactors still being run at maximum output? Isn’t that a little like knowing that the brakes on the school bus are not working properly, but you still are loading children on the bus because you think there is a low probability that you’ll need to come to a sudden stop?

But it’s not as if STP is doing nothing about the fire safety situation. According to the report:

Compensatory measures (fire watches) have been implemented for affected areas of the plant.


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.
This entry was posted in Event Reports, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, South Texas Project and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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