By edhat staff
A federal report has identified failings by inspectors at the Diable Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County.
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) conducted the investigation and released the investigation report on the event this week. He eventually found that the power plant was currently operating safely, but NRC inspectors failed to identify several installation issues.
The investigation began after the plant’s auxiliary feed water (AFW) system failed and led to an 8-day shutdown of one of the nuclear reactors in July 2020. The AFW system is a “feed into emergency water which can be used to cool the reactor if normal. feed water is out of order,” according to the report.
The OIG found that inspectors “failed to identify piping insulation on the AFW system that had long been in a degraded condition, and which led to a leak.”
The report says the investigation found that the NRC “did not inspect the area where the leak occurred, although its inspection report indicated that inspectors performed a full inspection of the AFW system in April 2020. , three months before the leak and close.”
In addition, the report states that “the number of hours that NRC personnel spent directly inspecting the AFW systems of both reactors for the full visit in April 2020 was less than that recommended in the applicable inspection procedures of the NRC”.
Ultimately, the OIG says the AFW system has since been upgraded by licensee Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and meets regulatory requirements, indicating that the power plant continues to operate safely.
Congressman Salud Carbajal responded to this oversight and issued the following statement:
“The findings released today by NRC’s Inspector General are troubling and unacceptable.
“The safety and well-being of the entire San Luis Obispo community depends on federal inspectors adhering to these safety protocols, and the negligence detailed in this report will erode public trust in those tasked with protect us.
“It is extremely important that the NRC clearly and convincingly explain to the Central Coast how it will hold its inspectors accountable for breaching protocol and how it intends to restore confidence in their operations at DCPP. In the coming days, I will formally request from NRC leadership specific details on why the required inspections were not carried out, the corrective actions that will be taken, and the steps that NRC will take to enforce its regulations during the time remaining during which the DCPP is operational. ”
PG&E still plans to close Diablo Canyon by 2025.