NRC OKs Flood Modifications at Duke Energy Nuclear Power Plant

Duke Energy's Oconee nuclear power plant

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said modifications completed at the Oconee nuclear power plant in South Carolina will adequately protect it from potential failure of a nearby dam.

The NRC staff issued a letter in 2008 to plant owner Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) requesting information related to external flooding, including the potential failure of the Jocassee Dam, located about 12 miles upstream from the three-unit plant. The detailed flood hazard analysis took two years to complete and included numerous meetings and conversations between the NRC and Duke Energy. In 2010, Duke Energy submitted the flood analysis and the NRC issued a confirmatory action letter documenting the company’s commitments. Duke Energy also implemented some interim compensatory measures throughout the time period, which were inspected by the NRC in 2010.

The accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant occurred in 2011, and the NRC issued another letter in 2012 requesting additional information on flooding as the agency worked to ensure that lessons learned from that situation were applied to U.S. plants including Oconee.

Duke submitted its flood hazard reevaluation report in 2013 and then a revised reevaluation report in 2015. NRC inspectors evaluated the plant modifications as the company completed each of the steps. In April, Duke informed the NRC that the flooding modifications were complete.

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