Wolf Creek nuclear plant vulnerable to tornadoes

A nuclear power plant close to where tornadoes hit Joplin, Mo. was singled out weeks before as being vulnerable to tornadoes, according to the Associated Press.

Inspections at the 1,170 MW Wolf Creek nuclear power plant in southeastern Kansas, owned by Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corp., showed that some emergency equipment and storage sites at the plant might not survive a tornado, but the critical elements, such as the plant's Westinghouse pressurized water reactors, are protected. Plant operators and federal inspectors reportedly said Wolf Creek did not secure equipment and vehicles needed to fight fires, retrieve fuel for emergency generators and resupply water to keep nuclear fuel cool as it is being moved.

NRC inspectors were reported to have found the plant’s fire truck parked in a sheet-metal building that would not protect it from severe weather or earthquakes.

Despite the findings, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) still concluded the plant met requirements put in place after Sept. 11 designed to keep nuclear fuel cool and containment structures intact during an emergency.

At the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant in Alabama, storms disabled sirens and damaged transmission lines in April. Parent company Tennessee Valley Authority restarted Unit 1 in May.

Also in April, the Surry Power Station in Virginia was shut down after a storm cut off the electrical feed from the grid to the station. A fuel tanker used to refuel backup generators was reportedly destroyed in the storm as well.

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