Science & Technology
7:49 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Shearon Harris Shutdown Likely To Come Up At Annual Assessment

The Shearon Harris nuclear power plant in New Hill was shut down last week.
Credit Nuclear Regulatory Commission / nrc.gov

An annual public meeting about the Shearon Harris nuclear power plant will likely raise questions about the recent decision to shut down the reactor. 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission hosts a meeting Monday night in Holly Springs.  It was scheduled before last week's shutdown.  NRC spokesman Roger Hannah says it's meant to outline safety assessments from the previous year.

"We identified an issue (in 2012) that involved the ventilation system for some of their emergency response facilities.  At this point, they don't have any of those issues, but obviously there are some things that we continue to review during this year," Hannah says.

Hannah says he expects to talk about questions the NRC has after inspectors found a quarter-inch crack in the reactor vessel.  Duke Energy Progress found the flaw when it reviewed an ultrasonic inspection from last year.

"Why was it not identified when they viewed the ultrasonic data earlier?  And also, why did they take a second look?  Did that second look have different procedures or follow different guidelines than the first look at this particular information?  That's probably the most important question," says Hannah.

Duke Energy Progress says there was no radiation leak.  A company spokeswoman says Duke Energy Progress will conduct its own investigation into why the crack wasn't identified immediately after tests in 2012. It's not clear how long the plant will stay offline.