Wednesday officials from the company that operates the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in South Haven will appear in front of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. An NRC investigation found a week-long shut-down of the power plant last September was of “substantial safety significance”.
The plant was offline because of an electrical outage at the plant. The investigation shows the outage happened because a worker didn’t follow proper procedures when he was doing routine maintenance.
Mark Savage is a spokesperson for Entergy Nuclear Operations, the company that runs the South Haven plant. He admits there were some procedural problems that led to the shut down. “Procedure clarity is very important particularly when you’re doing electrical work or really any work in the power plant and those things have to be corrected," Savage said.
The hearing is the last chance for Entergy to refute the findings in the investigation. If the findings are finalized as is, regulators would perform significantly more oversight at the plant. Palisades would be one of only three nuclear plants in the country with such a serious safety violation. It'll take between 30 and 60 days to determine if the final results of the investigation.
The NRC has already finalized a lower level finding this month that will result in more oversight. However, the electrical concern is considered a bigger risk and would lead to even more oversight.