US NRC sends more inspectors to probe Etergy Arkansas reactor

April 8 Mon Apr 8, 2013 3:43pm EDT

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April 8 (Reuters) - The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said Monday it will send an augmented inspection team to Entergy Corp's Arkansas nuclear power plant to review the circumstances surrounding an accident that killed one worker.

On March 31, a 550-ton (498-metric tons) generator stator fell onto the floor of the turbine deck when a lifting rig collapsed, causing the loss of offsite power to the 834-megawatt (MW) Unit 1 and an automatic shutdown of the 989-MW Unit 2.

Unit 1 was shut for refueling at the time of the accident. Workers were moving the old stator, the stationary part of the generator, to replace it with a new one. Unit 1 started its refueling outage on March 24.

Unit 2 was operating at full power and automatically shut down when the impact of the crash caused a loss of electrical power to one of four reactor coolant pumps.

Entergy said last week it was working to restart Unit 2 over the next several weeks. The company has not said when Unit 1 will return.

The NRC said both units are in stable condition, and there was no radiological release or danger to the public.

In addition to the one death, the accident injured eight workers.

"An (augmented inspection team) is used when the NRC wants to promptly dig deeply into the circumstances surrounding an operational event," said NRC Region IV Administrator Arthur Howell.

"We want to make sure that all the circumstances that contributed to this event are well understood in order to prevent a recurrence," Howell said.

The NRC said its resident inspectors responded to the control room to monitor site activities during the event and have been monitoring activities since. In addition, the NRC sent two additional inspectors to the site on April 1.

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California state worker Albert Jagow (L) goes over his retirement options with Calpers Retirement Program Specialist JeanAnn Kirkpatrick at the Calpers regional office in Sacramento, California October 21, 2009. Calpers, the largest U.S. public pension fund, manages retirement benefits for more than 1.6 million people, with assets comparable in value to the entire GDP of Israel. The Calpers investment portfolio had a historic drop in value, going from a peak of $250 billion in the fall of 2007 to $167 billion in March 2009, a loss of about a third during that period. It is now around $200 billion. REUTERS/Max Whittaker   (UNITED STATES) - RTXPWOZ

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