WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A special inspection at Wilmington’s Global Nuclear Fuel facility is underway to review some safety equipment following last month’s discovery that it might be unreliable.
According to a news release sent out by the National Regulatory Commission, its staff is looking into the circumstances surrounding the plant’s employees finding a moisture sensor, one of the facility’s criticality controls, was not operable.
The release says the discovery was made on March 28, when a pressure indicator in the same system that would have also helped prevent a criticality was later found to be in an unreliable condition.
A criticality can happen when nuclear materials come together in sufficient quantity or arrangement to initiate a chain reaction, resulting in either a “burst” or a sustained release of radiation, according to the NRC. The release says though a criticality event would not be expected to effect people or the environment outside the facility, it could be serious for workers in the immediate area.
There will be three inspectors on-site for the special inspection from the NRC’s fuel facility division in Atlanta, as well as inspectors from its headquarters in Maryland. The release says the team will review the facts surrounding the equipment issues, the company’s actions after the condition was discovered and any long-term corrective actions to prevent a recurrence.
According to the release, the on-site portion of the inspection will take several days, before a report revealing the results is issued within 45 days of the inspection’s completion.