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Elba Sanchez Santiago, the new senior resident inspector at the Clinton nuclear plant, and Steve West, the National Regulatory Commission regional administrator, discuss the plant's oversight process during the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau's Business Expo on Wednesday at Clinton High School.

CLINTON — The Clinton nuclear power plant operated safely in 2017, but will remain under increased oversight while awaiting further reviews from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on two minor violations reported last year, NRC officials said Wednesday in Clinton.

The plant has been receiving increased NRC oversight since the third quarter of the year due to a finding of low to moderate safety significance involving an issue with an emergency diesel generator room ventilation fan. NRC inspectors also identified a second violation related to a degraded condition on a safety-related pump as of the fourth quarter of last year.

NRC staff were at the Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau’s Business Expo on Wednesday at Clinton High School.

"Since the inspection reports, the licensee has taken corrective action with the findings and our concerns," said Steven West, NRC regional administrator. "We are thinking about doing some follow-up inspections later this year and take a look at how they've done, which is part of our oversight process."

The NRC Reactor Oversight Process uses color-coded inspection findings and indicators to measure plant performance. The colors start at green and increase to white, yellow or red, commensurate with the safety significance of the issues involved. Inspection findings or performance indicators with more than very low safety significance trigger increased NRC oversight. Both of the violations at the Clinton plant were categorized as “white findings.”

Clinton will remain under increased oversight until NRC conducts independent reviews to verify that Exelon has fully understood the causes for both and has taken sufficient action to prevent recurrence.

West said he toured the Clinton plant Wednesday prior to attending the expo.

"I like to get out to the plants as often as I can, meet with the licensee and then, when possible, attend some public events where we can meet the local residents and discuss any issues or concerns they might have," he said.

"The NRC has a lot of responsibilities and a lot of people don't know what we do or really understand the importance of our inspectors," said Viktoria Mitlyng, a senior public affairs officer with the NRC. "We have annual meetings for the public, but they are often held in a library or community room and people may not go out just for that event. But at a public event like a business expo, we can be seen and visit with the public."

The expo was also a way to introduce the public to Elba Sanchez Santiago, the new senior resident inspector at the plant. She will be one of two resident inspectors who monitor day-to-day plant operations.

Also at the expo were members of Exelon, the owner of the Clinton nuclear plant.

"We enjoy letting people know about the plant and answer any questions they may have," said spokesman Gabe Goldsmith. "Sometimes, people have questions and it might not be something they pick up the phone and call about, but if they see us here, they can get an answer."

Approximately 50 Central Illinois businesses were represented at the annual expo.

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Follow Kevin Barlow on Twitter: @pg_barlow


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