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Inspectors examine environmental, safety issues at Bay City nuclear plant

By adriana_acosta
Aug. 1, 2012 at 3:01 a.m.


BAY CITY - Licensing renewal for the South Texas Project is progressing.

On Wednesday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducted its open house to discuss the results of an inspection for the South Texas Project's license renewal application for Units 1 and 2.

The results discussed were the evaluation of the new aging management programs STP has in place.

"We reviewed and made sure all equipment is working and everything is properly maintained," said Sam Graves, senior reactor inspector for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Based on the inspection, the NRC concluded the equipment tested will be functional for the extended period of time, he said.

The onsite portion of the inspection for the renewal application was performed Aug. 25, 2011.

Inspectors are required to do two inspections, environmental and safety.

The inspection examines activities that support the application for a renewed license for the South Texas Project, said Graves.

"What we do is we review all of the reactor safety programs," he said.

Graves said they go onsite to STP and look at their management programs.

"This is done to test the design of aging for equipment that they have as it goes to the period extended operation," he said.

It has to be able to fulfill its function, he added.

Equipment tested included the closed-cycle cooling water system, fire protection, electrical cables and buried piping and tanks inspections.

"They must be able to prove to us that the equipment is working properly," he said.

Nineteen of the 37 programs STP has in place were tested during this inspection.

The inspection took two weeks.

Engineering inspectors interviewed STP personnel, examined procedures, records and visually examined various structures, he said.

The NRC issues licenses for commercial power reactors to operate for up to 40 years and allows licenses to be renewed for an additional 20 years, said Graves.

The license renewal process can typically take up to 30 months.

For STP, this is a step in the right direction.

"Our license renewal process continues to move forward, today it is another step in the regulatory process for our license renewal," said Buddy Eller, general manager, corporate communications and public affairs for STP. "Public input is an important part of this process."

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