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Dominion Violated Federal Law, Allowing Hurricane Ida to Flood Millstone No Penalties Assessed

Dominion violated federal regulations when it failed to activate storm protection procedures when Hurricane Ida hit southeastern Connecticut in September, allowing floodwaters to close in near the Unit 2 reactor, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has just disclosed, as reported by The Associated Press. See “Millstone Failed to Prevent Some Flooding During Ida.

Millstone operators should have activated storm gates in advance of the hurricane based on weather forecasts the morning of September 1, the NRC said. The storm brought 3.6 inches of rainfall to the vicinity on September 1.

The operators’ disregard of operational safety protocols resulted in “flooding of the Unit 2 nuclear reactor’s radiologically controlled area.”

Dominion admitted it did not close any floodgates until 8 P.M. and left two floodgates open throughout the weather event, despite official forecasts beginning at 11 AM of up to 6 inches of rainfall at the rate of 1 to 2 inches per hour. Ida caused the deaths of 50 people in six states, including a Connecticut state trooper.

The NRC condemned Dominion for not taking “timely action to place the plant in a safe condition prior to the arrival of a major storm.”

Although Dominion was subject to a potential fine for violating federal law by disregarding storm safety mandates, the NRC excused the offense without a penalty when Dominion said it would consult multiple weather forecasts in the future.

Thousands of tons of highly radioactive spent fuel are stored onsite in a flood-prone area near Jordan Cove, near a densely occupied neighborhood in Waterford. When Dominion applied to store more spent fuel in that area, the Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone intervened in opposition, citing among other reasons the failure of the Connecticut Siting Council to consider the potential environmental impacts from increasingly intense storms due to climate change. Nevertheless, the expansion was approved and upheld by the Connecticut courts in 2008.

Read more here about lax federal oversight of flood-prone storage of high-level nuclear waste destroying Native American heritage sites, as reported by The New York Times on November 14, 2021.