NRC begins inspection at Washington nuclear plant

Sep 26, 2011

RICHLAND, Wash. — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has begun a special inspection at the Northwest's only commercial nuclear power plant.

The inspection centers on three events in which plant operators inadvertently drained reactor coolant from the plant's reactor vessel during a recent refueling outage. The outage began April 2.

The inspection also will look at two other incidents that occurred while the reactor was shut down.

NRC administrator Elmo E. Collins said in a statement Monday that the events had very low risk because the reactor was shut down, but that they all appear to have involved poor operator controls and warrant close examination.

Energy Northwest operates the plant in Richland.