United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment



NRC Seal NRC NEWS

U. S. NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS, REGION IV

611 Ryan Plaza Drive, Suite 400, Arlington TX 76011

CONTACT:    Breck Henderson (817) 860-8128/e-mail: bwh@nrc.gov

RIV: 99-23

May 25, 1999

NRC WITHDRAWS $110,000 FINE

AGAINST ENTERGY'S WATERFORD 3 NUCLEAR POWER PLANT

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has withdrawn a $110,000 civil penalty it proposed in June 1998 against Entergy Operations, Inc.'s Waterford 3 nuclear power plant near Taft, Louisiana.

The NRC made the decision to rescind its action after considering new information submitted by Entergy in response to the enforcement action. The original civil penalty cited Waterford 3 for four violations associated with the testing of cooling water flow in the high pressure safety injection system (HPSI). The NRC has dropped two of these violations and re-classified the remaining two as Severity Level IV, which have no civil penalty.

The original fine was proposed because, in December 1997, NRC determined that the design analysis of the HPSI system for Waterford did not account for uncertainties in the instrumentation used and therefore did not demonstrate that the flow of cooling water would be sufficient to cool the nuclear core during certain accidents. Subsequent analysis using improved methods has shown that the cooling water flow is currently and has always been adequate to assure the safety of the plant. Nevertheless, the NRC held that this problem should have been discovered and handled more promptly, and that the regulations thus violated were serious enough to warrant a civil penalty.

The NRC maintains that the facts of its June 1998 action are correct, but, after reconsideration, concluded it had inappropriately applied its regulations to the issues and that violation of requirements warranting a civil penalty had not occurred.

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