1 killed, 8 injured, offsite electricity lost, due to drop of 600-ton load at Entergy's Arkansas Nuclear One plant
As reported by Dow Jones Business News, a 24-year-old worker named Wade Walters of Russellville, Arkansas was killed when a crane dropped a 600-ton piece of equipment called a generator stator at Entergy's twin reactor Arkansas Nuclear One station (see photo, left), located six miles west-northwest of Russellville in London, Arkansas. Eight other workers were injured, one of whom remains hospitalized.
Platts also reported on the fatal accident.
In 2001, NRC rubber-stamped a 20-year license extension on top of Unit 1's 1974 to 2014 original operating permit, blessing its operation till 2034. In 2005, NRC followed suit at Unit 2, enabling it to run not from 1978 till 2018, but till 2038.
As the article reports: "When the generator stator fell, it damaged other equipment and a water pipeline used for extinguishing fires. Water spilled from the pipeline into the building that contains the power turbine, the NRC said. The water seeped into an electrical component, causing a short-circuit that cut off power to the plant from the electric grid, according to Entergy and the NRC."
Unit 1 was reportedly shut down for maintenance at the time of the accident, but Unit 2 was operating at full power. For a yet to be explained reason, Unit 2 "automatically" shut down after the accident. Emergency diesel generators are reportedly supplying electricity to emergency, safety, cooling, and other systems at both reactors.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) "Current Reactor Status Report" shows that both Arkansas Nuclear One reactors are at zero power levels. An Event Notification Report has been posted at the NRC's website. Note that the Event Notification Report filed by Entergy reports only four injuries, while media reports describe eight injured workers. The extent of damage to Unit 1 facilities has yet to be determined. NRC and U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigations are underway.
The Russellville Courier has published photos from the accident scene: 600 ton stator shown below Bigge crane components at ANO Unit 2; horizontal view of stator after drop; crane components next to dropped stator; a fourth image.
The Courier has run several updates throughout the week. Wade Walters' funeral was reported to have taken place on Thursday.
The NRC issued a press release on April 8th entitled "NRC sends Augmented Inspection Team to Arkansas Nuclear One." As explained by David Lochbaum, Nuclear Safety Director at Union of Concerned Scientists, in his March 2013 report "The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety in 2012: Tolerating the Intolerable," an Augmented Inspection Team (AIT) indicates a near-miss accident causing a 100-fold increase in the risk of reactor core damage.