NRC to Increase Richland Nuke
by Annette Cary
RICHLAND -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will increase oversight of Energy Northwest's nuclear power plant near Richland after investigating an emergency preparedness issue.
The NRC confirmed today that two inspection findings for the Columbia Generating Station's emergency preparedness program were "white," meaning they had a low to moderate safety significance.
The findings were reported as preliminary this spring.
The two white findings move the nuclear plant into the "degraded cornerstone" column of the NRC's action matrix, resulting in a higher level of NRC scrutiny.
It's the third highest level of NRC oversight and the Energy Northwest plant joins seven other nuclear plants in that category.
Energy Northwest discovered the problem with the emergency preparedness program during a self-assessment.
Inappropriate inputs were used in calculations in the '90s that compounded through the years and led to incorrect information on tables that can be used by Energy Northwest in an emergency.
That could have affected both the determination of emergency levels and also actions taken in the event of an emergency at the plant.
The problem persisted between 2000 and 2011, but no emergency occurred at the Columbia Generating Station.
In an emergency had occurred, there were alternate ways to assess the situation, said Mark Reddemann, Energy Northwest chief executive, at a board meeting today in Kennewick.
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