Pilgrim Station gets some good news from the NRC

For the second time in six months, a team of NRC inspectors traveled to the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to check on work aimed at preventing a recurrence of unplanned shutdowns at the facility.

But unlike the review completed in December, the more recent inspection has found that Entergy, the owner of the  plant, has now satisfactorily addressed the areas of weakness, according to a statement released by Nuclear Regulatory Commission Spokesman Neil Sheehan.

 The inspection team’s report calls for the closure of two low to moderate safety inspection findings. That means that as of the end of this month, the NRC’s heightened oversight in response to a series of unplanned shutdowns would end, Sheehan stated.

The NRC is continuing to review an apparent violation issued on May 27 at Pilgrim. That finding involves the maintenance of the plant’s safety relief valves and stems from a special inspection conducted at the site after an unplanned shutdown in January amid a winter storm. If that violation, preliminarily classified is finalized, the agency will  determine the amount of increased scrutiny that should be applied to the plant. A decision on the finding is not unexpected until sometime this summer, according to Sheehan.

Lauren Burm, spokesman for Pilgrim Station issued a statement that the company is pleased that the inspection ended in a “successful conclusion.” She went on to state that “We recognize there are additional areas to work on and we are committed to identifying and resolving issues in a timely and effective manner.”

 Pilgrim began receiving additional attention from the NRC In late 2013 after it had three unplanned shutdowns, according to Sheehan.

During the supplemental review carried out last fall, NRC inspectors determined that  deficiencies existed in fixing the problems that were found and in  understanding what caused the issues. Consequently, the NRC decided to maintain its elevated level of oversight pending another inspection.

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