April 4, 1995 in City

Wppss May Have Violated Safety Rules At Hanford N-Plant

By The Spokesman-Review

Washington state’s only commercial nuclear plant may have violated safety rules, a federal agency said Monday.

Inspectors for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said they found four possible violations this year at a reactor operated by the Washington Public Power Supply System on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.

The possible violations revolve around the emergency ventilation system at WPPSS No. 2 control room, which is supposed to make sure that plant operators have a safe area during an emergency.

During inspections in late January through mid February, NRC investigators said the reactor should have been shut down on two separate occasions when the ventilation system was inoperable. The system was not properly maintained and eventually became inoperable, inspectors said.

Brent Henderson, a spokesman for the commission, said the seriousness of these apparent violations will be discussed at Friday’s hearing at the NRC regional headquarters in Arlington, Texas.

The least serious violations carry no penalties, while the most serious can carry a fine of up to $100,000 per incident.

The hearing does not mean that violations have occurred, or that penalties will be assessed, Henderson said. It is designed to give supply system officials a chance to discuss the inspections and outline any corrective action.

WPPSS had no comment on the apparent violations or the upcoming conference, a spokeswoman said.

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