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Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant due greater scrutiny

Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Southern Maryland is due for closer scrutiny by federal regulators after unspecified security lapses discovered there earlier this year.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has finalized a "greater than green" finding of security deficiencies spotted during a special inspection from January to July of this year, according to a letter released Wednesday. The agency has not disclosed the nature of the problems, saying that releasing such information might help someone to attack or sabotage the twin-reactor plant in Lusby in Calvert County.

The NRC had announced its finding in July but withheld a final determination to give Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, which operates Calvert Cliffs, a chance to explain in a meeting or in writing. Company officials declined the offer, spokesman Mark Sullivan said, because they didn't disagree with the regulators' finding. He said the security issues were fixed and the plant was in compliance before federal inspectors left at the end of their visit in July.

Though the security shortcoming found is of "very low security significance," according to the NRC letter, the agency decided it was serious enough to require additional inspections. Regulators also still are considering whether to cite the plant's operators for a safety violation, William M. Dean, the NRC's regional administrator, said in the letter.

The Unit 1 reactor at Calvert Cliffs resumed power generation Wednesday after being knocked offline during Hurricane Irene when a piece of wind-blown aluminum siding struck a transformer.

tim.wheeler@baltsun.com

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