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NRC conducts special probe in Callaway

A United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) inspection team conducted a special inspection Monday of the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant after concerns were raised about lubrication of an auxiliary feedwater pump.

Mike Cleary, an Ameren Missouri spokesman, said the inspection is the lowest of three NRC inspection levels that go beyond the normal, ongoing inspections conducted by the resident NRC inspectors based at the plant.

“It is not related to the current nuclear plant problems in Japan,” Cleary said.

Cleary said the current inspection is in response to a Feb. 8 routine oil sample taken during normal maintenance on a pump.

The oil showed discoloration, Cleary said, and a subsequent inspection of the pump bearing found some wear.

“Callaway Plant personnel identified the issue during routine maintenance and reported it to the NRC,” Cleary said.

The oil and bearings were replaced. “An engineering evaluation showed the pump would have performed its intended function if needed,” Cleary said.

The NRC said the pump is used to supply water to steam generators during some accident conditions.

The oil sample indicated the oil level may have been too low to properly lubricate the pump bearing. The NRC was concerned that if that occurred, the pump may not have operated as efficiently during an accident.

The NRC reported the inspection was ordered because a similar finding occurred at the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant in 2009.

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