The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it would send a team of two inspectors to the Cooper Nuclear Station in Brownville, Nebraska on Monday for a week-long inspection to review what is being called a human error that led to a dual-shut down of the plant's safety-related heat removal systems.
On Feb. 5 of this year, technicians discovered that a misalignment of valves may have rendered one of the plant's residual heat removal systems inoperable for several months, the NRC said. However, operators also performed maintenance and testing on a second residual heat removal system during the same time period. That meant that both systems were down at the same time over a period of approximately 72 hours, the NRC said.
The heat removal systems are in place “to mitigate the effects of a variety of accidents,” the NRC noted.
“It was a human performance error,” said district coordinator for nuclear communications Drew Niehaus. “. They (the valves) were put in the correct position,” he added, calling the problem “an isolated incident,”
The plant, situated on the Missouri River, is operated by the Nuclear Public Power District. The General Electric Type 4 boiling water reactor was commissioned in 1974. The renewed license for the plant expires in January 2034.
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