NRC Fails to Penalize Nuke Plant for Failure to Prevent Flooding from Hurricane Ida

by on November 30, 2021 · 0 comments

in Energy, Environment

Nuclear Shutdown News for December 2021

By Michael Steinberg /  Black Rain Press

Nuclear Shutdown News chronicles the decline and fall of the nuclear industry in the US and beyond, and supports the efforts of those working for a nuclear free future.

On November 2 the Associated Press reported, “Millstone nuclear plant failed to prevent flooding during Ida.”

Hurricane Ida hit New Orleans in August with 150 mile per hour winds, 20 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Crescent City and much of the Gulf Coast.

The cataclysmic storm headed inland, then up the eastern seaboard before reaching the Millstone nuke plant in September. Millstone is located only 5 miles across the waters of Long Island Sound from my old home town of Niantic in Connecticut.

Subsequently the Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a report criticizing Millstone’s owner, Dominion Energy of Richmond, VA, for failing to carry out safety measures to protect the nuclear plant, whose troubled history began with the first of three reactors starting up in 1970.

The NRC report said Dominion was “too late in activating protection protocols when remnants of Ida hit the East Coast, resulting in minor flooding at the plant.”

The NRC also said Dominion violated federal requirements but deemed the violations of “very low significance” and “did not issue penalties.”

Unfortunately, this slack attitude is all too typical of the NRC, which typically sides with corporate nuclear entities, rather than following its stated mission, which is to protect the public’s health and safety.

The flooding did not affect “any nuclear or safety equipment, ” the agency averred. Structures were not taken until “after consequential rainfall flow was in progress.”

Specifically, the NRC reported, “plant operators should have activated flood prevention measures before the storm hit,” including closing flood gates.

But that didn’t happen until after 8 pm, when heavy rains were already falling. In addition, two other flood gates were not closed at all, “resulting in minor flooding in an area near unit 2.” The report does not mention exactly where that area is located.

Millstone’s reactor 2 started up in1975, making it 45 years old. Nuclear reactors were designed to operate for only 40 years. You might say it’s an accident waiting to happen.

In the 1990s all three Millstone reactors were closed down by the NRC for years after gross mismanagement and whistleblower harassment and intimidation landed it on the cover of Time magazine. One reactor was permanently shut down.

The AP story also reported that nuclear plants in major storms are required to shut down when rainfall reaches a rate of 3 and a half inches an hour. But local newspaper the New London Day reported that when Ida hit the rate in Niantic (5 miles from Millstone) was 7 inches per hour.

Sources: Associated Press,; The Day, the

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