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Catawba nuclear plant on Lake Wylie to get extra federal oversight

Vapor rises from the Catawba Nuclear station on Lake Wylie. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it will increase oversight of the plant after an electrical component failed a test.
Vapor rises from the Catawba Nuclear station on Lake Wylie. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it will increase oversight of the plant after an electrical component failed a test. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Federal regulators will give Duke Energy’s Catawba nuclear power plant on Lake Wylie increased oversight after an electrical component of an emergency generator failed a test.

After the component failure in April, Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors found that Catawba staff had failed to take adequate preventive maintenance measures.

Emergency diesel generators are critical equipment because they would keep Catawba’s safety systems operating if the plant lost connections to outside power.

The commission decided the component failure was of low to moderate safety significance, but officials said it would increase oversight until the agency is satisfied the issue has been resolved. That will include an additional inspection.

The Catawba plant is in South Carolina, 18 miles south of Charlotte. Its two reactors began generating power in 1985 and 1986 and are licensed to operate through 2043.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender

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