During an annual shutdown in May, employees discovered an accumulation of uranium-bearing material in a scrubber system, which is designed to remove unwanted material from numerous plant processes. Further analysis showed the amount of uranium was much higher than anticipated, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) launched an inspection into what happened. There were no safety-related consequences as a result of the accumulation, but the potential for such consequences may have existed.
The confirmatory action letter (CAL) outlined steps Westinghouse needs to take or has taken in before scrubber operations can restart. Actions include shutting down affected systems in the facility, performing a root cause analysis investigation, conducting a review and revision of safety culture, updating maintenance and management procedures, installing physical modifications to the system, training personnel operating and maintaining the system, reviewing other potentially affected systems, and retaining an external nuclear criticality safety expert to oversee such functions.
The issuance of the CAL does not preclude the NRC from taking other actions for any violations of NRC requirements that may be identified during the still ongoing investigation.
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