NRC begins special inspection and Robinson nuclear power plant

Source: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has dispatched a Special Inspection Team to the Robinson nuclear power plant, located near Hartsville, S.C., about 26 miles northwest of Florence. The team is reviewing the circumstances surrounding a reactor trip, or automatic shutdown, shortly after midnight on Thursday, Oct. 7 at the plant, which is operated by Progress Energy.

The trip was caused by an electrical fault in one of the plant’s reactor coolant pump motors. In addition, the NRC team is looking closely at two operational issues that occurred later that morning. Those issues involve the feedwater pumps that supply water to the plant’s steam generators. Water heated in the reactor travels through tubes in the steam generators, converting a separate water supply into steam which turns the turbine-generator.

The NRC’s Special Inspection Team is being led by a senior resident inspector from another plant and also includes two region-based inspectors. The inspectors will review the circumstances surrounding the trip and the events involving the feedwater pumps and assess the response of the plant’s operators. The inspection team will also look at the company’s corrective actions, both for this event and an electrical fire in March that led to an Alert being declared.

The special inspection began Tuesday, Oct. 12 and is expected to continue for about a week. The NRC will issue a report within 45 days of the completion of the inspection.

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