River Bend Nuclear Station to receive additional inspections

River Bend Nuclear Station to receive additional inspections
Boiling Water Reactor diagram (Source: NRC)
Boiling Water Reactor diagram (Source: NRC)

Two unplanned shutdowns of Entergy's River Bend Nuclear Station in St. Francisville mean the facility will be facing extra inspections for the next year.

The plant is under constant scrutiny on the inside by those who are in charge of the facility and inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

ST. FRANCISVILLE, LA (WAFB) - The NRC is responsible for making sure that every nuclear plant meets the strictest of safety standards.  According to their annual report, River Bend had a few issues in 2014 that will require an even closer exam of the facility and how it operates.

"There will be increased inspection efforts as a result of the issues," explained NRC Senior Regulatory Inspector for the plant Jeffrey Sowa.

The report pointed to three specific events that were problematic. Last year, equipment malfunctions triggered two different unplanned shutdowns of the plant's core.

Inspectors were concerned with the how the plant handled the second shutdown which occurred on Christmas Eve. That incident received a white rating on the inspector's color scale which means it presented a low to moderate safety risk.

There was also some sort of security incident inside the plant. Sowa was not allowed to give details, but said it turned out to be “a low safety significance issue.”  

All of this was relayed to residents during the NRC's annual public meeting.

Inspectors told residents that any problem, big or small must be addressed.  However, they emphasized that the plant is still operating safely overall, and none of these events put the public in danger.

The NRC's current inspection of the plant for the first quarter of the year is currently underway. Those results are expected in May.

More information on the NRC and River Bend can be found here.

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