Workers Damage Nuclear Vessel

JENKINSVILLE – A three-person inspection team from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) arrived at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station Monday to examine damage caused by work crews to the containment vessel under construction at Unit 2.

Roger Hannah of the NRC’s Region II Public Affairs Office in Atlanta said workers from Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I) were removing several pieces of vertical rebar inside the containment vessel prior to pouring additional concrete inside the vessel. While doing so, he said, workers inadvertently drilled into rebar within the existing concrete, damaging the metal bowl of the structure. The containment vessel houses the nuclear reactor.

Although the NRC said the damage appears to be minor, Hannah said, “Our biggest concern outside of the damage is there should have been procedures in place, and there may have been procedures in place that went unfulfilled,” that would have prevented the incident.

Hannah also said there was a concern over the delay in the reporting of the issue.

According to the NRC, the damage occurred during the week of Feb. 9, but CB&I did not report the damage to SCANA, which operates the site, until Feb. 16.

The NRC said the inspection team will spend approximately one week on site reviewing the incident and the assessments of both CB&I and SCANA. The inspectors will also evaluate any potential effects on containment vessel integrity, any similar activities and corrective actions, the NRC said. A report will be available to the public within 45 days of the end of the inspection.

As of press time, Hannah said, construction of the two new units at the site had not been halted.

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