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Team of federal regulators prepare for major inspection at Palisades nuclear plant

Mark Savage

New documents show a team of nuclear regulators will begin a major inspection of the Palisades nuclear power plant this month. The inspection is a direct result of the plant’s downgraded safety rating that was issued earlier this year.

Last September a worker was doing some maintenance on electrical equipment at Palisades. He got permission from a supervisor not to follow the work procedures. The equipment short circuited, causing a power outage that resulted in the plant’s control room losing half its indicators.

Regulators deemed this mistake of “substantial safety significance”.Because of this and other unplanned shutdowns in 2011, Palisades has one of the worst safety ratings in the country.

Now Entergy Corporation, the company that operates the plant, says it’s resolved the problems and is ready to prove it to the NRC.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will send a team of seven inspectors and two observers to Palisades to perform the inspection. The team will be onsite for at least eleven days, beginning September 17th, to see if the plant has resolved the safety issues.

If it has, the plant’s safety rating could be upgraded later this year. But that depends greatly on what the inspectors find.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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