Entergy's nuclear power plant, Arkansas Nuclear One, is currently the worst in the country, according to a ranking by the federal regulators. The reasons for the poor performance rating and plans for improvement will be discussed Tuesday night at 6 p.m. during a public hearing in Russellville.
“The meeting is the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s end-of-cycle public meeting, which occurs every year. And the significance of this particular meeting is that since the last public meeting Arkansas Nuclear One has been placed in 'Column 4' of the reactor oversight process,” said Sarah Millard, a spokeswoman for Entergy's Arkansas Nuclear One.
Column 4 is the lowest rating a reactor can receive without being shut down. The poor evaluation of the plant resulted from an accident in March 2013, which left one worker dead and eight others injured. It happeened when a massive piece of an electric generator was dropped while being transported inside the facility. The accident also damaged a water main causing flooding in portions of the site. An investigation of the incident led to citations for “Failure to follow the Materials Handling Program” and “Inadequate Flood Protection”.
Lara Uselding of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says Arkansas Nuclear One is the only reactor in the country with a Column 4 rating.
“There will be significant oversight by the NRC. There’s been a new branch created that will be performing inspections and follow up inspections at the site. There will also be additional public meetings held in the area for members of the public to see how progress is happening at the site,” said Uselding.
According to reports by Entergy and the NRC, the accident occurred in a non-radiation area of the plant and there was no danger to the surrounding community. Uselding pointed out that performance reviews for all of the country’s nuclear reactors can be accessed by the public at NRC.gov.