Thu 15 Mar 2007
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Following up on my Sep. 2006 post “Shearon-Harris Offline: Who tripped over the wire?”, the North Carolina Waste Awareness and Reduction Network (NCWARN) is holding another public hearing Mar. 22nd, 2007 on the 14 years of fire violations at the Shearon-Harris nuclear plant.
|FIRE VIOLATIONS AT SHEARON HARRIS NUCLEAR PLANT
Public Hearing: New
What risks are posed by Harris’ 14 years of noncompliance with federal fire regulations?
Fire is a leading risk factor for nuclear meltdown. When will Harris be in compliance?
Implications of January’s NRC decision to rely on fire mitigation instead of defense against air attacks at US nuclear plants.
From NCWARN’s report:
Fire represents up to 50% of the risk for catastrophic accidents in the U.S. nuclear power industry. That risk calculation assumes fire regulations are being obeyed. Fire can cause operators to lose control of the nuclear reactor and its complex safety systems, leading to overheating of the reactor fuel and large releases of radioactivity. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has allowed the Shearon Harris Nuclear Plant in Wake County, NC, and others, to operate in clear violation of federal fire safety regulations put into place following a seven-hour fire at Alabama’s Browns Ferry plant in 1975, where only heroic action and sheer luck averted a catastrophic radiation accident.
Harris has been in violation of federal fire regulations since at least 1992, and ranks worst in the nation in at least two critical fire safety criteria. At Shearon Harris, commitments to correct the fire vulnerabilities have been made, then ignored, in a cycle of endless delay over the years, even as more violations continue to be discovered. A 2005 inspection became at least the 10th time Harris reported new violations, adding to a list totaling scores of unprotected components needed to safely shut down and cool the reactor in the event of a plant fire. Shearon Harris has already had several fires in its 19 years. One, called a “major fire” by an industry publication, was caused by an electrical short. It required 30 firefighters, and caused a plant outage lasting for weeks.