Wolf Creek Power Plant Operating Safely According To Federal Regulations

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NEW STRAWN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Safety is always a concern, with a nuclear power plant located so close to the Capital City.

The public heard an update Thursday night on Coffey County's Wolf Creek Generating Station.

Federal regulations told 13 News Wolf Creek nuclear plant did see a couple bumps in the road in 2012, but is running safely.

Every year the Nuclear Regulatory Commission conducts a safety assessment to analyze Wolf Creek nuclear plant's operations.

At a public meeting at the New Strawn Community Center near Burlington, Kansas, the NRC announced the plant's performance during 2012.

"The NRC did determine that the plant operated in a manner that was safe and is going to continue looking because they have had a couple issues that need to be addessed in the long-term," NRC spokeswoman Lara Uselding told 13 News.

Specifically, the NRC cited a January 2012 incident in which Wolf Creek lost power, causing the diesel generators to switch on to cool the plant. The other issue regarded the performance of supplemental workers.

"They have taken corrective actions," Uselding said. "The NRC is going to continue to ensure that they have fixed it, so they won't have future problems."

Cassie Bailey, spokeswoman for Wolf Creek said that safety is the priority. "The NRC and Wolf Creek share a common goal of protecting the health and safety of the public, and we recognize that the issues they've identified for our performance in 2012 is serious."

Because of the issues, the NRC will continue its increased oversight.

Already, two NRC inspectors are always at the facility, checking that the plant's workers and operations meet strict guidelines.

"It's our responsibility to safely and reliably operate the plant," Bailey said, "and that we provide the right level of oversight to those individuals that they are performing work to the high standards we would expect."

The plant has contracted workers, and supplemental workers, or other people they bring in to help.

Bottom line: everything is cool.

"The public can rest assured the plant does not pose a threat to the health and the environment," Uselding said.

The NRC runs on a "significance threshold," meaning that each issue found in a nuclear power plant is rated on a color scale. Increased levels of oversight is implemented for each color. Green means a low safety significance, white means low to moderate safety issue, yellow means substantial safety issue and red means high safety issue.

The two issues the NRC found at Wolf Creek were yellow, in regards to the power outage, and white, in regards to the supplemental workers.

The NRC inspects: maintenance, operations, engineering, radiation, security and emergency preparedness.

To report an emergency to the NRC, call (301) 816-5100.

To report a safety concern to the NRC, call 1-800-695-7403 or email allegation@nrc.gov.

For general questions and information, visit the NRC and Wolf Creek website at www.nrc.gov and www.wcnoc.com.