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Nuclear Plant Procrastinates On Y2K Drills - Dodd
November 30, 1999
WASHINGTON, DC, U.S.A. (NB) -- By Robert MacMillan, Newsbytes.
The Millstone nuclear power plant in Connecticut did not include Year 2000 tests in its biennial full scale emergency drill, and Senate Year 2000 Committee Ranking Democrat and Connecticut Sen. Christopher Dodd wants to know why. And he wants to know by Dec. 6. "Although the Y2K problem is not expected to cause serious disruptions at any of the nation's nuclear power plants, Dodd raised concerns about the decision to postpone the plant's biennial... drill, which would have included the participation of the (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)," a statement released by the Year 2000 Committee said. Dodd said that he is worried because Millstone's operators, Northeast Utilities, postponed the emergency systems drill. He added that other drills that Millstone conducted "did not include Y2K scenarios." Dodd also said that Northeast Utilities and the NRC must provide "specific information on the measures they have undertaken to ensure that the (plant) is Y2K-ready."
"Given the potential harm even one nuclear accident can cause, I want to be very clear about the need for added vigilance at this time," Dodd said. "Heightened public anxiety over the Y2K problem means that even those regulators and industries which put a premium on public safety at all times must be especially sensitive to the Y2K issue." Dodd also said that the nuclear industry and the committee must "communicate the view" that "the health and safety of our citizens must be our No. 1 Y2K priority."
"Providing as much detail as possible about the Y2K readiness plans of the nation's nuclear power plants is the best way I know to reassure the public that regulators and industry alike are serious when it comes to the Y2K issue," Dodd said. The NRC on Nov. 8 said that all 103 of the nation's nuclear power plants are ready for the Year 2000 date change, and any problems in computer systems that might result. The last plant to register its readiness for the date change was the Joseph M. Farley plant, Unit 2, located in Alabama.
Millstone, meanwhile, was slated to be shut down, with decommissioning activities announced in 1998.
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Link to main Y2K page.