Regulators issue fine over Westinghouse uranium spill

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Federal regulators are fining a South Carolina nuclear fuel plant thousands of dollars for a spill of wastewater containing uranium.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Thursday it had proposed a fine of $17,500 for the Westinghouse Electric Co. plant near Columbia.

Regulators say about 200 gallons of wastewater containing ammonia and uranium spilled Jan. 24 after a pump failed. No workers were hurt or needed medical attention. Westinghouse acknowledged violations, and regulators say the company has 30 days to pay the fine or file a protest.

Westinghouse's plant near the Congaree River makes fuel rods for nuclear power stations across the country.

Meanwhile, federal nuclear regulators have assigned a new resident inspector to a nuclear power plant in South Carolina

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Thursday that Ellery Coffman had been selected for the post at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station near Jenkinsville. Regulators say Coffman joined the agency's headquarters office in 2006 and has also worked in the private sector as an engineer.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. operates the station about 25 miles northwest of Columbia.

SCE&G wants to build two, 1,100-megawatt reactors at the site to be jointly owned and operated with the state-owned utility, Santee Cooper. Officials expect the first new reactor to generate power by 2016, and the second in 2019.

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