Nuclear officials release report on Waterford emission

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 23, 2011

LAPLACE – In inspection by The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has determined that maintenance work during a 2009 refueling outage at Entergy’s Waterford 3 nuclear power plant in Taft caused unnecessary radiation exposure to workers at the facility, according to a commission release.

Inspectors determined that the exposure was below federal safety limits for radiation, but the release was unexpected. Doses of radioactive cooling water leaked from pipe seals onto the plant floor as lines were being depressurized during the maintenance work. None of the material left the plant, according to the release.

“Although the radiological doses the workers received were below regulatory limits, NRC regulations require that radiation exposures be limited to As Low As Reasonably Achievable,” the release stated.

The issue was identified during an NRC inspection in spring 2010 to review the effectiveness of radiological control practices during the previous refueling outage. NRC staff held a regulatory conference with Entergy officials Oct. 3, during which representatives discussed the inspection finding. The incident was classified as a “white” level violation, which is the second least serious in a four-level classification scale.

The inspection also noted that Entergy had installed a trough system underneath the pipe seals that channels water to a drainage system within the plant. This system has reduced worker exposure to radiation.

The NRC inspection report is available through the agency’s electronic reading room at http:// and searching for document ML112360693.

Help in accessing documents is available from the NRC Public Document Room staff by calling 1-800-397-4209.