US regulators: Greater oversight of Millstone possible over repeated troubles with water pump

The U.S. Federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Thursday it could impose more inspections and greater oversight of Connecticut's nuclear power plant due to repeated problems with a critical water pump.

The agency issued its findings from an inspection of Millstone Power Plant's unit 3, saying problems associated with a turbine-driven auxiliary water pump three times last year and in January was of low to moderate safety significance.

Continue Reading Below

The pump cools the reactor in emergencies if offsite power and diesel generators fail.

Millstone, which is owned by Dominion Resources Inc., may request a conference with regulators, submit a written response or accept the finding. Spokesman Ken Holt says plant officials have not made a decision.

Regulators said the Unit 3 pump operated from May 2013 through February 2014 in an "adverse configuration" due to the installation of an incorrect part. As a result, the pump ran at an excessive speed, the regulatory agency said.

Inspectors determined that the incorrect part "was a condition adverse to quality that was within Dominion's ability to foresee, correct and should have been prevented."

Federal regulators said the part has been replaced and the pump is no longer an immediate safety concern. The pump failed to operate properly last Nov. 4, Dec. 18 and Jan. 23, 2014.

Millstone provides half of Connecticut's power.