FPL fined for violations at Turkey Point

11 April 2012

The US nuclear regulator has issued a fine to Florida Power & Light (FPL) for failing to report that the ventilation system for the emergency response facility at its Turkey Point nuclear power plant had been taken out of service on two occasions - one lasting some seven months.

Turkey Point (FPL)
Turkey Point (Image: FPL)

An inspection by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of the plant found that the power supply to the ventilation system was disconnected between 4 December 2010 and 13 July 2011, and between 10 and 28 October 2011 in order for maintenance and repairs to be conducted. This means that FPL "failed to maintain a fully functional Technical Support Centre (TSC) when portions of its ventilation system were removed from service without compensatory measures." Had an emergency occurred during these periods, staff working in the TSC "would not have been protected from radiological hazards that would occur in some accidents," the NRC said.

This is "a violation of low to moderate safety significance that may require additional NRC inspection and oversight," the regulator said. "The finding was more than minor because it affected the Emergency Preparedness Cornerstone objective of ensuring that the licensee is capable of implementing adequate measures to protect the health and safety of the public in the event of a radiological emergency."

Furthermore, the NRC said that FPL's failure to report that Turkey Point's TSC was not fully functional on those two occasions represented a second violation. Regulations require that plant operators inform the NRC of a "major loss of emergency assessment, offsite response and offsite communications capability" within eight hours. For its failure to inform the regulator, the NRC issued FPL with a fine of $140,000.

FPL currently operates two 693 MWe pressurized water reactors at Turkey Point but has plans to construct two new units there.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News