Saturday, October 31, 2009

Officials investigate mishap at Diablo


Plant operators and federal safety inspectors are investigating how two switches on a safety system at Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant were improperly set, potentially impairing operators’ ability to respond in the event of a severe loss of cooling water.

The improperly set switches were discovered late last week during maintenance and testing conducted in a refueling shutdown of the reactor, said Emily Christensen Archer, plant spokeswoman.

The switches were set in such a way that they would have prevented operators from remotely opening two valves that feed cooling water back into the reactor after it had been spilled. Operators would have had to be dispatched to manually open the valves, a procedure operators are trained to perform, Christensen Archer said.

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