NRC Alleges Two Serious Violations at Arkansas Nuclear One After Fatal Accident Last Year

Next week, federal regulators will present Entergy with two apparent violation at Arkansas Nuclear One stemming from an industrial accident that killed a worker and injured eight others.

A year ago, a crane collapsed while moving a 525-ton generator stator during a maintenance outage for unit 1. According to the NRC, the stator fell only 18 inches onto the turbine building floor, but the force was great enough to trip the nearby breaker for a bus providing offsite power to unit 1. The stator then rolled into the train bay, dropping a further 30 feet and rupturing an eight-inch fire main. It soaked an electrical breaker cabinet that experienced a small explosion and cut one offsite power source to unit 2.  That reactor had shut down automatically when the stator's impact tripped a breaker for a reactor coolant pump. (The NRC's initial inspection report offers a detailed chronology of the accident.)

Resultant worker injuries and the death of a 24-year-old contractor employee prompted an inspection from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which proposed $175,000 in fines for companies involved in the work. Following a conference with Entergy announced Tuesday, the NRC may add further fines and a more rigorous inspection schedule for a preliminary red finding at unit 1 and a preliminary yellow finding at unit 2. According to agency documents, both findings allege the plant did not perform an adequate review of a subcontractor's lifting rig design calculation or a load test prior to use.

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