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Dresden station has improved safety measures for flooding

Published: Thursday, June 26, 2014 9:42 p.m. CDT

MORRIS – Is Dresden Nuclear Station entirely prepared for a major natural flood?

It wasn’t last year, according to 2013 inspections by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The NRC found deficiencies in the site’s response procedures for maximum flooding, but Dresden has since applied corrective actions to bolster its flood preparedness, said Greg Roach, a NRC senior inspector at Dresden Station.

After undergoing 7,129 hours of on-site inspections from the NRC in 2013, Dresden’s lack of flood response procedures was the station’s most severe problem.

Still, the flood finding registered only as a “white” on the NRC’s color-coded safety scale which progresses from green to white to yellow to red.

According to the NRC, white findings represents only a low to moderate safety issue.

In total, Dresden emerged last year with one white and eight green findings, which indicate a very low-risk safety problem.

Out of the 100 operational nuclear plants inspected in 2013, nine plants were subject to increased safety inspection efforts because of their “white” findings. Dresden was one of the nine.

With the flood preparedness issue resolved, the NRC said Dresden is a safe nuclear plant.

“Exelon operated the plant safely and in a manner that preserved the public’s health and safety,” reads the NRC’s annual report of the station.

All of the station’s safety findings were made public Wednesday night during the Dresden Nuclear Power Station Annual Assessment Open House, organized by the NRC and was open to the public.

Representatives and inspectors from both Dresden and the NRC were available to answer questions and provide summaries of the station’s safety inspections.

“This gives us the opportunity to have direct contact with the public and address any concerns they may have,” NRC Branch 6 Chief Jamnes Cameron said Wednesday.

Historically, Dresden’s open houses haven’t drawn a crowd, Cameron said.

Despite Dresden’s recent tritium leak, unearthed two weeks ago and since resolved, Wednesday night was no exception as few members of the public attended.

“In the Midwest, we typically don’t see as much public at these events as we do in other parts of the country,” Cameron said. “It’s just what we’ve observed.”

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