SC nuclear plant issued a warning over another cracked emergency fuel pipe, latest in series of issues

U.S. officials have issued a warning to the V.C. Summer nuclear plant in South Carolina after cracks were discovered in a backup emergency fuel line. This is not the first time that cracks have been found in the pipes that carry fuel to emergency generators at the plant. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has reported that small cracks have been found in these pipes about six times in the past 20 years.

The agency has issued a preliminary “yellow” warning to Dominion Energy, the owner of the plant. This is the second most serious category of warning, with only seven similar warnings being issued across the country since 2009. Dominion Energy has acknowledged the issue and stated that it plans to improve the reliability of its backup system.

A crack was first discovered on a diesel fuel pipe at the V.C. Summer plant in 2003, and additional cracks have been found since then. During a 24-hour test of the system in November, a small diesel fuel leak grew larger, according to records from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The agency’s yellow warning was issued due to the repeated problems with the backup emergency fuel line. However, Dominion Energy will have the opportunity to explain what happened before the ruling becomes final. Utility spokesperson Darryl Huger emphasized that Dominion Energy is committed to safe operations and has already started implementing a plan to improve the reliability of the backup system.

It is worth noting that Dominion Energy is not the original owner of the V.C. Summer plant. SCANA built and started the plant in 1984, with plans to build two more reactors. However, due to billions of dollars in cost overruns, SCANA was forced to abandon the project in 2017 and sell to Dominion Energy.

Dominion Energy has recently requested to renew the license for the nuclear plant for an additional 40 years. However, the discovery of these cracks in the backup emergency fuel line should warrant increased scrutiny by regulators, according to longtime nuclear safety advocate Tom Clements.

This incident serves as a reminder of the importance of thoroughly analyzing all systems before making decisions about license renewals for nuclear plants. The safety and reliability of backup systems are critical to ensuring the overall safety of nuclear facilities.

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Original Story at – 2023-10-10 15:54:00

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