Oyster Creek Undergoes a Flood Hazard Audit
Protective measures and assessments continue at U.S. nuclear power plants following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown in Japan.
As part of the process, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is auditing the flooding hazard reevaluations of a half dozen nuclear power plants around the country, which includes the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in Lacey Township, NJ.
NRC Spokesman Neil Sheehan said "if plants find that they have vulnerabilities they need to do what we call an integrated assessment. They need to look at the broad range of possibilities and then come up with solutions to any flooding vulnerabilities."
Sheehan said at this point, they believe Oyster Creek remains safe from flooding but there were areas of vulnerability found during a July Audit that will likely be undergoing mitigation. He explained, the plants are expected to have the flooding reevaluations done later this year which will help guide whether or not they need to do more work including an integrated assessment.
He said such areas of vulnerability could be something like rain water penetration of a wall that could effect electrical wiring or flood waters rising to the point where it could affect water pumps or intake valves. Sheehan confirmed that in Oyster Creek's case, during Superstorm Sandy, there was a concern about a high level of water in the intake structure could threaten motors to pumps.
"But nevertheless in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, in the wake of what happened in Fukushima, we expect these plants to be able to cope with really the most severe type of flooding," Sheehan explained.
U.S. nuclear power plants will also be undergoing Earthquake Assessments. The Assessments are part of the recommendations made by a task force that formed shortly after the Japanese nuclear disaster to protect U.S. Plants.