An emergency shutdown of Entergy River Bend Nuclear Station on Dec. 25 was determined to be of low to moderate safety significance by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and won’t lead to serious consequences for the facility.
The finding released Sept. 11 by the NRC was one of the issues left to be addressed after the commission did a special investigation earlier this year.
The report was released in July with a finding that the facility was in violation of NRC requirements because a training simulator didn’t accurately reproduce the conditions that the control room operators faced on Dec. 25.
“When the plant shut down unexpectedly, they were faced with issues they hadn’t practiced on the simulator,” said Victor Dricks, NRC spokesman.
The NRC found that the problem with the training program meant that operators took “actions that unnecessarily complicated the plant’s response to the unplanned shutdown on Dec. 25, 2014,” according to the commission.
At issue is an emergency unplanned shutdown of the facility. River Bend was operating at 85 percent capacity when the shutdown occurred, according to the commission.
A sensor indicated that there was a high level of water in the reactor and caused pumps that feed cooling water into the system to be turned off. Once the reactor water level signal was reset, workers weren’t able to get the cooling water pumps restarted, but could get a different pump started and water flowing into the reactor again.
Later, the workers found that there was a faulty manual function control card, which was replaced.
Findings of the special investigation into the incident were released July 7, and Entergy officials stated that they agreed.
“The identified issues have been corrected to ensure that conditions in the simulator accurately reflect conditions in the plant, and River Bend Station remains safe and secure,” Elizabeth Fako, communications specialist with Entergy River Bend Nuclear Station, wrote in a statement.
She wrote that the findings won’t affect the way the plant is regulated by NRC.
The July 7 NRC report agrees that the issue isn’t a continuing concern.
“Because actions have been taken to initiate discrepancy reports, to investigate and resolve the potential fidelity issues and to provide training to operations personnel, the simulator deficiencies do not represent a continuing safety concern,” according to the report.
Dricks said the finding of low to moderate safety significance could mean just one extra inspection for the facility. However, it’s normal practice at nuclear facilities around the country for the NRC to have resident inspectors who work at the River Bend facility every day and do about 6,000 hours of inspections per year already, he said.
River Bend opened in 1986 and can meet about 10 percent of the total electricity demand in the state, according to the company’s website.
Follow Amy Wold on Twitter, @awold10.