NRC ranks PPL's Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, one of five with the worst recent safety performance; NRC to conduct at least one special inspection to asses four unplanned shutdowns between April 2010 and January 2011

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania , September 7, 2011 () – Pa.'s Susquehanna 1 reactor marked down in national safety check, faces tougher NRC scrutiny

Pennsylvania's Susquehanna nuclear power plant faces tougher scrutiny from federal regulators following a national review of plant safety.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday all of the nation's 104 plants are operating safely, but problems at Unit 1 of the Susquehanna plant in Luzerne County made it one of five with the worst recent safety performance in the latest of the agency's ongoing safety assessments. The other plants in that category are in Ohio, South Carolina, Alabama and Nebraska.

The low grades for Susquehanna Unit 1 reflect four unplanned shutdowns between April 2010 and January 2011, including one necessitated by a faulty gasket that caused 1 million gallons of river water to leak into the turbine building.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan said the agency will conduct at least one special inspection, probably late this year, to review the plant's analysis of what happened and judge whether the corrective action is satisfactory.

The plant, whose majority owner is PPL Corp., appointed a special team to evaluate the problems, said spokesman Joe Scopelliti.

"We want to make sure that we fully understand the conditions and that they are addressed to prevent recurrence," he said.

No serious problems were detected at Pennsylvania's four other nuclear plants in the latest NRC assessment.

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