Nuclear Plant Report Attempts to Provoke Sump Pump Action

By Published On: December 13, 2003

In an effort to stimulate congressional hearings to address a nationwide flaw in nuclear plants, the Union of Concerned Scientists detailed the potential for accidents caused by malfunctioning sump pumps in a report released October 29. As reported in <i>Energy Circuit</i> last month, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station is ranked among the most likely in the nation to suffer reactor core damage from the sump pump problem. The Diablo Canyon plant is also on the organization?s watch list. ?The problem could be if there?s a pipeline break. It might knock paint and insulation loose and might get down in the sump,? explained Ken Clark, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) spokesperson. The Union of Concerned Scientists fears that if a pump system clogged the intake to a reactor?s cooling plumbing, it could cause a loss-of-coolant accident. At worst, such an accident could lead to a meltdown. Dave Lochbaum, the Union of Concerned Scientists? nuclear safety engineer, said Congress could spur reforms at the NRC to address the sump pump problems. He added that such action should take place before an accident, instead of postmortem, thus ?skipping the part where thousands of Americans get harmed and a large region of our country gets ruined for decades.? NRC officials are evaluating the report, said Clark. He could not estimate how long that would take.

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