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NRC Finalizes Violations for Arkansas Nuclear One

Victor Dricks
Senior Public Affairs Officer
Region IV

The Arkansas Nuclear One power plant, in Russellville, Ark., is coming under increased NRC focus as a result of flood protection problems.

anoBeginning in 2013, Entergy Operations officials and the NRC began extensive inspections of the flood protection program at ANO. Many problems were discovered and are described in a Sept. 9, 2014, NRC inspection report.

All told, more than 100 previously unknown flood barrier deficiencies creating flooding pathways into the site’s two auxiliary buildings were found. These included defective floor seals, flooding barriers that were designed, but never installed, and seals that had deteriorated over time. In one case, a special hatch that was supposed to be close a ventilation duct in the Unit 1 auxiliary building in the event of flooding had never been installed.

In the unlikely event of extreme flooding – a kind not seen since weather records have been kept for the area – significant amounts of water could have entered the auxiliary buildings. This could have submerged vital plant equipment, as well as the emergency diesel generator fuel vaults. The licensee has replaced degraded seals, installed new flood barriers and adopted new measures to better protect the site from flooding.

NRC held a regulatory conference with Entergy officials on Oct. 28, 2014. After considering information provided by the company, NRC determined violations related to flood protection have substantial safety significance, or are “yellow.” (The NRC evaluates regulatory performance at nuclear plants with a color coded process that classifies inspection findings as green, white, yellow or red, in order of increasing safety significance.)

The NRC divides plants into five performance categories, or columns on its Action Matrix. ANO Units 1 and 2 received yellow violations in June 2014 because electrical equipment damaged during an industrial incident increased risk to the plant. Workers were moving a 525-ton component out of the plant’s turbine building when a temporary lifting rig collapsed on March 13, 2013, damaging plant equipment. Those violations moved both units from Column 1 to Column 3 of the NRC’s Action Matrix. The agency increases its oversight of plants as performance declines.

The new violations will lead NRC to reassess whether even more inspection resources need to be focused on ANO. The NRC will determine the appropriate level of agency oversight and notify Entergy officials of that decision in a separate letter.

45 responses to “NRC Finalizes Violations for Arkansas Nuclear One

  1. drbillcorcoran March 27, 2017 at 3:08 pm


    Would you be so kind as to provide a link to a more forthcoming root cause analysis than then one linked here?


  2. drbillcorcoran November 25, 2016 at 6:08 am


    Thanks ever so much for the effort you put into this blog.

    I have another question.

    The blog said:
    “All told, more than 100 previously unknown flood barrier deficiencies creating flooding pathways into the site’s two auxiliary buildings were found. These included defective floor seals, flooding barriers that were designed, but never installed, and seals that had deteriorated over time. In one case, a special hatch that was supposed to be close a ventilation duct in the Unit 1 auxiliary building in the event of flooding had never been installed.”

    Is there a link to a root cause analysis of any or all of these safety deficiencies?

    Is there a link to an NRC inspection report that evaluates the root cause analyses?

    • NRC November 28, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      There is no link to an NRC document containing a root cause analysis for the flooding deficiencies at ANO. NRC inspectors reviewed a root cause analysis prepared by the licensee, but we do not possess a copy of this document. You will need to ask Entergy for this. This is a link to the NRC inspection report identifying the preliminary yellow findings associated with flooding deficiencies. It contains a brief statement regarding the licensee’s root cause analysis:

      Our review of the root cause and of its corrective actions are contained in the preliminary yellow finding and in the Inspection Procedure 95003. (http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1616/ML16161B279.pdf)
      Section 4.2 discusses specifics that were reviewed and items that the NRC is continuing to follow.

      Victor Dricks

      • drbillcorcoran December 1, 2016 at 5:46 am

        Quotation: “An organization that has demonstrated an inability to find its own problems has demonstrated its own incompetence.”-Bill Corcoran

  3. drbillcorcoran September 12, 2016 at 8:41 am

    • Problem Age/Longevity

    An inescapable fact is that old long-existing problems got to be old because they were not effectively addressed when younger. The harm got to be as old as it was because neither the harm nor the elements of its causation were addressed when the harm was less old.

    The time extent of a problem can be referred to as its age, its longevity, its persistence, its survival, or the like.

    Observation: Problems do not mellow with age.

    Observation: In 1999 a damning report on “medical error” was released . In 2016 an even more damning report on “medical error” was released .

    Observation: After the Fukushima Explosions and Meltdowns numerous flood barrier deficiencies that had existed for decades were found in nuclear power plants.

    Observation: The Open Phase Condition problem existed since the first U.S. nuclear plant was designed.

    Observation: When problems are not resolved at the rate they emerge their cumulative adverse synergism mushrooms into certain disaster.

    Observation: Problems often survive multiple reviews, government inspections, management change-outs, ownership transfers, and scrubs by legions of hired experts.

    Observation: A problem does not go away when it is officially called by another name. The NRC calls some of its unresolved problems “Generic Issues.”

    Quotation: The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right names.”-Confucius

    Observation: Time wounds all heels.

    Quotation: “A stitch in time saves nine.”

    Observation: The causation of the crash of the 2006 RAF Nimrod XV230 Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft included vulnerabilities that had existed since the Falklands War in 1982.

  4. drbillcorcoran February 11, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    This one reminds us of the Renaissance observation:

    “…in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure.”

    Nicolo Macchiavelli
    “The Prince”
    Chapter III

  5. billpks February 10, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Thank you again for your response.

    You stated: “The blog is a place where the public can post their opinions.” – and seemingly suggested that my other concern would be best directed to staff working the ANO project.

    My interest remains entirely with the extent to which this blog represents a source of substantive stakeholder engagement rather than a communications control exercise which devolves into, “The NRC broadcasts and the public ‘opines.'” Such an outcome would be a step backward in Openness.

    This channel is open as a matter of public policy initiative taken by the elected officials at the highest level of Executive government. It employs methods and affordances which are considerably more flexible than the processes NRC has long used to manage its transactions with non-licensee stakeholders. That likely results in both improvements and other outcomes less obviously so.

    We are all in a discovery mode here; in your internal discussions please challenge your own assumptions about what good value is before there is a fulsome body and some evident patterns of experience with using this channel. I know this is a difficult ask; as a taxpayer I need to make that ask.

    One thing that kind of “discover and develop” type of Openness (long an NRC core value) would look like just now, is to recognize when a thread opens an opportunistic moment. Opportunistic that would be for informed, non-licensee persons in the public to use an ROP topic, seemingly specific from the perspective of Region IV, as a case study to explore more general implications of how regulation is serving the public interest.

    In such a circumstance, it seems entirely appropriate, when these thread generalize to “pass the buck” to someone in HQ. I’m content to accept some NRC Regional line management discretion in that regard so long as the election is made specific; at this point I wouldn’t need any elaborate basis for a specific decision – its the pattern of engagement over a range of “possibles” that will lead to a sense of what the full range of these blogs are good for. Because we adopt an exploring and pioneering mode with these high-speed big data channels, the attributes of effective exchange are necessarily uncertain; we can all give ourselves permission to Do by Learning.

    Those who have been commenting here know what they are talking about; we are valued sources of feedback unencumbered by all the safeguards in the formal comment process. We all value the extraordinary extents to which NRC has long maintained an open and transparent public record of its workings – we value to the work to improve the automation of such public access and to expand discourse such as this. It is from our own prior investment that we take the stance of being a demanding customer for your efforts.

    Despite our occasional grumpiness, we are not anti-nuclear and definitely not anti-regulation. We’ve been discussing these topics on line for more than five years in several LinkedIn and other public forums. Frankly, the official voice of NRC input (and others such as INPO and NEI) has been rather sparse in those channels. I presume but do not know, how NRC leadership views participation in or even tracking of such public discourse as part of staff’s professional performance expectation; I would like to understand that – even if the policy is a work-in-progress. The days of tidy, government facilitated community engagement are gone.

    In summary, when I asked a general question, you pointed me in a specific direction – one likely intended to move this thread to closure. We all can do better. Compared to oversight of offshore drilling or fracking, the NRC provides the most sophisticated “learning laboratory” within which to explore, from the engaged public’s side, how to take more responsibility for assurance of effective and proportionate regulation (e.g. assurance of adequate budget given the 90% recovery by fee provision – a topic in active discussion on LinkedIn right now). Many channels resulting in bandwidth parity are essential to that.

    OBTW, with two Yellows, I’m not worried about ANO’s supervision.

    Bill M

  6. drbillcorcoran February 10, 2015 at 9:00 am

    I’m still looking for an analysis of the harmful conditions, behaviors, actions, and inactions that made it take forty years to get attention to the flood barrier defects.

  7. drbillcorcoran February 9, 2015 at 8:56 am

    This episode is about more than flood barriers.

    It is about forty years of insufficient competency, integrity, compliance, and transparency.

    Fixing the flood barriers is pruning the poison ivy.

    What are the conditions, behaviors, actions, and inactions that resulted in forty years of insufficient competency, integrity, compliance, and transparency.?

    Where is the licensee’s analysis of this?

  8. billpks February 8, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    Mr. Dricks,

    I applaud your impulse to share the detailed event related documents; I’m surprised that you didn’t recognize that the hyperlinks you provided are behind the Agency firewall and not available to those of us in the public.

    I wish to contest one aspect of your earlier response. While the licensee is directly, and acutely accountable for achieving the level of safety anticipated when the NRC approved the license; they are not ultimately responsible. Surely the massive public consequences of Fukushima point out that regulatory ineffectiveness is what ultimately precipitates early deaths and lives disrupted.

    The ROP is sometimes going to put NRC in a position to be the second to know a significant deficiency exists, that does not lower its accountability to the public. It is simply implausible and unacceptable that NRC not understand that it, as the approval authority under the Atomic Energy Act, is in no way less accountable than the licensee.

    Any routine quality verification program for an enterprise as complex as an NPP license must rely upon a systematic sampling approach backed up by a graded expansion of oversight when significant issues arise. However, because of the lag time likely in some instances such as this with the flooding protection, the licensee should be facing very painful economic sanctions when a major problem cascade unfolds such as the instance at ANO.

    • Moderator February 9, 2015 at 9:21 am

      These documents are all public in our ADAMS system. It’s unclear why the original links did not work. We’ve substituted alternative URLs. It’s possible you may need to cut and paste the URL directly into your browser due to WordPress issues related to links in blog comments.

      Unit 1 CALC-ANO1-CS-12-00003, “Flooding Walkdown Submittal Report for Resolution of Fukushima Near-Term Task Force Recommendation 2.3: Flooding, ADAMS ACCESSION NO: ML12334A009, 11/19/2012 http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1233/ML12334A009.pdf

      Calc 32 – 9207374 – 000 , “Title Arkansas Nuclear One Flooding Hazard Re-Evaluation – Probable Maximum Precipitation”, ADAMS ACCESSION NO. ML14307A911, Date: 4/30/2014 http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1430/ML14307A911.pdf

      Revised Response to NRC 10 CFR 50.54(f) Request for Information Regarding Near-Term Task Force (NTTF) Recommendation 2.3, Flooding Arkansas Nuclear One – Units 1 and 2 ADAMS ACCESSION NO. ML14120A494, Date 5/30/14 http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1412/ML14120A494.pdf

      Attachment 1 to OCAN051402 Arkansas Nuclear One, Unit I (ANO-1) Revised Flooding Walkdown Report ADAMS ACCESSION NO. ML14139A380, Date 5/14/14 http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1413/ML14139A380.pdf

      OCAN051402 Arkansas Nuclear One, Unit 2 (ANO-2) Revised Flooding Walkdown Report ADAMS ACCESSION NO. ML14139A381, Date: 5/14/14 http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1413/ML14139A381.pdf

      Data Request Supporting United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Flood Analysis Arkansas Nuclear One – Units 1 and 2, ADAMS ACCESSION NO. ML14262A083, Date: September 9, 2014 http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML1426/ML14262A083.pdf


      • billpks February 9, 2015 at 11:51 am

        Thank you for providing public accessible links.

        Looking at the previous versions it’s quite clear; “https” indicates a secure (password protected) server. It has nothing to do with cutting and pasting or WordPress. We in the public need for someone in your role to be well-versed in such things.

        Do you or any colleague intend to reply to my other critique of your earlier comments?

        Thank you, Bill M

      • Moderator February 10, 2015 at 8:53 am

        BillM —

        Again, our apologies for the linking issue.

        The blog is a place where the public can post their opinions. If you wish to have a direct conversation with NRC staff related to ANO, please use this email address: opa4.resource@nrc.gov


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