Wolf Creek Power Plant

Nuclear Regulatory Commission, flickr Creative Commons

A Kansas laboratory responsible for testing for contamination in the event of an accident at the state's only nuclear power plant hasn't been staffed for several weeks after its final two employees left in September.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says an Iowa lab is testing routine samples from the Wolf Creek nuclear plant, and that Kansas has several other agencies that would respond if there were an emergency.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission, flickr Creative Commons

Since 2009, Westar Energy has increased its rates 22 times. Over that same period, energy bills for residential users have increased 40 to 50 percent. KMUW’s Sean Sandefur takes a closer look at the company’s most recent rate increase proposal and how it could change the way some customers look at their energy consumption…

Earlier this week, Westar Energy filed a rate increase request that would bring in an additional $152 million a year. According to the company, the added revenue is needed to keep up with government regulations and to maintain its infrastructure.

Officials from Wolf Creek, the only nuclear power plant in Kansas, updated the Nuclear Regulatory Commission Thursday on their efforts to solve persistent problems with the water supply that cools safety equipment at the plant. As Kansas Public Radio's Bryan Thompson reports, the NRC has been aware of the problems for the last five years.

Wolf Creek nuclear plant officials will meet with federal regulators next week to discuss progress in making sure the plant's workers aren't afraid to report safety concerns.

This August, The Nuclear Regulatory Commission determined a "chilled work environment" exists within the quality assurance group at plant, near Burlington.

The meeting is scheduled for January 22nd in Arlington, Texas.

The Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station, the only nuclear power plant in Kansas, remains shut down due to problems with an air conditioning compressor. The unit is needed to cool safety-related equipment.

Operators shut down the reactor late Wednesday afternoon when they noticed abnormal vibration in the compressor while doing maintenance work.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has taken the only nuclear power plant in Kansas off of its special "watch list" for plants with problems needing closer scrutiny.

The NRC has listed Wolf Creek in the “degraded performance” category for more than a year. That’s the next-to-the-lowest of four ratings. Those problems have been resolved, and the plant has been upgraded to normal status.

Firm To Appeal Wolf Creek Whisteblower Case

May 21, 2013

An engineering firm wants to appeal a decision by federal regulators.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration--or OSHA--found in favor of a whistleblower at Wolf Creek Plant in Burlington, Kan.

OSHA found the engineer was fired for reporting unsafe working conditions at the nuclear plant.

Georgia-based Enercon Services owns the Wolf Creek plant. OSHA says Enercon violated whistleblower protections when it retaliated against an employee for raising concerns during construction work.

Wolf Creek Deemed Safe, But Still Under Scrutiny

Apr 19, 2013

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) says the Wolf Creek nuclear plant operated safely last year.

But the only nuclear power plant in Kansas remains under heightened scrutiny because of a series of problems. Wolf Creek was shut down for more than two months in 2012 after a transformer failed.

The NRC says that was because the plant didn’t properly supervise contractors working on the equipment.

At a public meeting hosted by the NRC on Thursday, Wolf Creek President and CEO Matt Sunseri outlined steps the plant has taken to improve safety and reliability.

Drought Dwindles Water Levels At Nuclear Power Plant

Aug 28, 2012

The continuing drought is causing concern about operating the Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant.

Officials say the dwindling water levels of a reservoir used to cool the plant near Burlington do not pose any safety risk.

The Kansas Water Office projects the John Redmond Reservoir will be almost dry by November 1, if current weather patterns persist.

Wolf Creek officials say it would be difficult to operate the plant if the drought continues for the next several months.