Shearon-Harris: Fire in the Whole

Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

It appears that Progress Energy has prevailed against local concerns the fire safety and overall security of their Shearon-Harris facility is less than adequate:

Progress Energy has cleared a hurdle in its bid to extend the operating license of the Shearon Harris nuclear plant by 20 years.

The Raleigh utility persuaded administrative law judges to reject safety concerns raised by nuclear critics who are challenging the license extension.

The groups want to litigate safety issues that the atomic board said fall outside the scope of a relicensing proceeding. Such proceedings are limited by law to reviewing a nuclear plant’s safety components and environmental impacts as the plant ages, the atomic board said.

N&O

I commented on NC Warn’s efforts in this recent post.

I’ve been following the mess at Shearon-Harris before the facility opened. Locally, our governments have to be concerned that this facility maintains the highest safety standards. For nearby communities – Pittsboro, Apex, Cary – the consequences of an accidental release present a devastating prospect. Closer to home, the economic and environmental reverberations would be significant.

The troubled NRCs role in this – their continued lack of oversight and willingness to bend what is in the best business interest of companies like Progress Energy – does not bode will for our community.

Luckily, local Representative David Price is aware of the fire safety issue and has promised to have the GAO look into the process to make sure the public good is well-served.

NCWARN to Shearon-Harris: Come on Baby Light My Fire! Not!

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

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


Thursday, March 22nd, 7pm
The Barn at Fearrington Village
Google MAP
NC WARN: (919) 416-5077, www.ncwarn.org
15-501 between Pittsboro & Chapel Hill

Public Hearing: New
Information on        legal action against the NRC
 Hosted by NC Senators Ellie Kinnaird and Janet Cowell, and other public officials

 (More on event…Click Here)[PDF]


(More on Harris Fire Violations…Click Here) 


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.

Contact

Archives

RSS Feeds:

Government

Media

Local Politics

Categories:

Monthly:

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

AffordableHousing arts Campaign CarolinaNorth Carrboro ChapelHill Chatham CitizenWill CivilLiberties Community Development Downtown durham EconomicDevelopment Elections Endorsements environment Event Government Hillsborough LocalArts LocalPolitics Lottery Media MunicipalNetworking NationalPolitics OrangeCounty Orthogonal Ruminations sustainability SxSWi Technology Transportation UNC Uncategorized WeaverStreetMktLawn Zorch

Meta