Dominion Accused of Violations at North Anna, Surry Reactors

April 11, 2012

Federal regulators on Wednesday scheduled meetings with Dominion Virginia Power to discuss apparent violations at its two nuclear power stations.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it scheduled meetings in Atlanta with company officials next week to discuss the issues at the energy provider's North Anna and Surry nuclear power stations.

Regulators said inspectors found that a gasket failure prevented one of the diesel generators at North Anna from performing its function following the August earthquake. The failed gasket was not caused by nor related to the earthquake. While the gasket was replaced the same day, inspectors found the plant did not have adequate procedures for installing the gasket.

The NRC evaluates performance at commercial nuclear power plants with a color-coded system that classifies findings as green, white, yellow or red, in increasing order of safety significance. The preliminary evaluation determined the finding at North Anna was "greater than green," which regulators said means the actual significance has not been finalized, but it is greater than low safety significance.

The NRC also said inspectors found the company failed to provide appropriate maintenance procedures for a standpipe that indicates coolant levels in one of the reactors at its Surry plant during maintenance activities. But the finding did not represent an immediate safety concern, the NRC said. The preliminary evaluation determined that the violation was "white," which means it has a low to moderate safety significance.

Regulators said no decisions on the final safety significance of the events or other actions will be made at the meetings.

Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle said that neither incident affected the public's health and safety and each was resolved safely. He said the company looks forward to presenting additional details to the NRC.

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