* Suspension follows problem with warning horns in test
* No impact on health and safety, company says
By Jim Brumm
WILMINGTON, N.C., July 19 General Electric Co's
(GE.N) nuclear fuel unit Global Nuclear Fuels (GNF) has
suspended manufacturing since Thursday at its North Carolina
facility after warning horns failed to operate properly during
a safety system test, GNF reported to the Nuclear Regulatory
The report posted on the commission website explained that
the alarm system at the facility north of Wilmington failed to
immediately activate the horns as designed during the test.
GNF said the problem was identified as a hardware failure,
specifically a capacitor on a circuit board, and the system had
"The malfunction did not have any impact on health or
safety," GE Nuclear spokesman Michael Tetuan said, adding the
company had not yet scheduled a restart of production.
All production activities were shut down and personnel were
being kept away from the manufacturing area, the company said.
GE has manufactured fuel assemblies for boiling water
reactors at its facilities near Wilmington since the late
GNF was created in early 2000 when Hitachi (6501.T) and
Toshiba (6502.T) purchased stakes of 18 percent and 22 percent
respectively in the fuel manufacturing operation.
In its report to the NRC, the company said it had
determined that problems with the warning system had existed at
the time of previous tests in May and June but at the time they
were "not adequately identified and thus not reported".
GNF operates a second fuel assembly plant in Japan at a
site south of Tokyo, near the mouth of Tokyo Bay.
(Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Jim Marshall)