Public questions NRC after Shearon Harris shuttered
Posted May 20, 2013
HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — The sudden shutdown of a nuclear power plant outside North Carolina's capital city because of year-old data prompted questions at a local meeting with federal regulators on Monday.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission employees held an annual public meeting and question-and-answer session about the Shearon Harris nuclear plant at the Holly Springs Cultural Center.
The meeting comes days after the plant in southern Wake County was suddenly shut down. Operators reviewing tests from last year rechecked the data last week and found tiny marks of corrosion and cracking that need repair.
"When they re-reviewed the data, it was discovered," said NRC spokesman Roger Hannah. "That is a question we would like answered. At this point, we do not have those answers."
Spokesmen for plant operator Duke Energy haven't explained why the problem wasn't found last year.
"This was a miss," said Regis Repko, the utility's senior vice president of nuclear operations. "It clearly does not meet our expectations."
But Duke Energy says no radioactive material has leaked from the plant.
Jim Warren, spokesman for utility watchdog group NCWARN, questions that assertion.
"That is simply not matched by your own report to the NRC that classifies the reason for the shutdown as potential uncontrolled radiation release," Warren said.
Charlotte-based Duke Energy took over the plant after its merger with Raleigh-based Progress Energy last summer.