NRC Sends Inspectors to Arkansas Nuclear Plant Following Industrial Accident

Federal regulators have ordered an investigation at Arkansas Nuclear One, where a falling generator stator caused a fatal accident last week.

On Monday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission announced it will soon send an augmented inspection team to the Entergy plant near Russellville. The inspectors will create a chronology of the accident, evaluate its causes and scrutinize the plant's response.

The stator, which weighs about 550 tons, fell to the turbine deck of unit 1 when a lifting rig collapsed on the morning of March 31.  The accident killed Wade Walters, 24, and injured eight others. According to the NRC, it also damaged equipment that cut offsite power to unit 1, tripped unit 2 and caused one of its four reactor coolant pumps to shut down.

According to an Entergy release Thursday, emergency diesels powered spent fuel cooling at unit 1 over multiple days while offsite power lines supplied unit 2. Unit 1 was in a refueling and maintenance outage when the accident occurred. Unit 2 was operating normally, although Entergy said it will take several weeks to bring it back online.

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