Pa. nuclear plant to appeal drill assessment

June 21, 2009 12:48:20 PM PDT
The operator of a northeastern Pennsylvania nuclear power plant says it plans to appeal an assessment by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission following a security exercise in March. Incidents at nuclear plants are graded on a color-coded scale from green to red, and anything other than green results in increased NRC oversight such as increased inspections, commission spokesman Neil Sheehan said. The agency releases little information about security issues, saying it could be used in an attack.

PPL Corp., the majority owner and operator of the Susquehanna plant, plans to meet July 1 with NRC officials at the commission's King of Prussia office near Philadelphia in hopes of avoiding the additional oversight.

"Anytime we have a discussion, we can understand exactly what they're looking for and they can understand what our actions were," PPL nuclear spokesman Joe Scopelliti said. "As soon as they told us about the finding, we took immediate corrective action. The issue has been corrected; now it's more of we'd like the opportunity to discuss it with the NRC."

The assessment came after a drill at the Salem Township plant in Luzerne County during which an effort is made to gain access and plant security forces, which are aware of the drill, repel the attackers.

"It's something that's known, but coordinated basically to test your security force to see how your security force would react to intruders coming to the plant," Scopelliti said. "We believe we are one of the most secure facilities in the country, if not the world."

The meeting will not be public, but the agenda indicates that company officials will have an hour to make its case, followed by an hour of discussion and then 10 minutes for PPL's closing remarks. It is unclear whether any findings will be made public.

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Information from: Times Leader, http://www.timesleader.com

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