Is Louisiana’s Nuclear Power Safe? Plant Facing $150K in Fines
I was today years old when I found out that part of Louisiana is nuclear powered. We have not one, but two power plants that split atoms to make electricity. The Waterford facility in Killona, and the River Bend plant near St. Francisville are both operated by electric power provider Entergy. These two locations generate approximately 10% of Louisiana's electricity.
I guess growing up during the Cold War gave me an unusual and skewed perception of nuclear power, because these hulking power makers have always given me the willies. The Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island, and Fukishima disasters didn't calm my nerves either. That being said - statistically, the nuclear option for generating electricity has been proven safe and reliable. Unfortunately, that's only if the proper safety precautions are taken.
The proper safety precautions were not taken at the River Bend plant
According to the report from Biz New Orleans, Entergy's River Bend location is facing a fine of $150,000 for safety violations found there by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Regulatory inspectors reportedly found 3 violations between 2018 and 2020. They were:
- An exam proctor falsifying a test and submitting it
- An operator failed to properly complete safety checks at the plant’s control building
- A senior reactor operator gave an unauthorized employee an access key to a room with cybersecurity-related equipment inside
Entergy's response was that they were taking “extensive corrective actions” to prevent anything like this from happening - but what exactly those specific actions are was not detailed in the report. That may not be enough to stop the hefty fine from being levied against the energy company, however. Officially, Entergy has 60 days to fight the fine or request a mediator to resolve the violations - but the company has not announced whether or not it will dispute it or simply fork out the cash.