Texas Nuclear Plant’s Fire Protection Inadequate

March 7, 2013

A congressional nuclear watchdog agency has raised safety concerns about an aging fire protection system at Pantex, the country’s only nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly plant.

The Amarillo Globe-News reported Tuesday the agency wants the National Nuclear Security Administration to prepare a response within 90 days.

The agency, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, requested the response in its Feb. 25 report that said failures in the fire protection system pose risks to workers and to public health.

The report also noted inadequate automatic sprinkler protection at the plant outside Amarillo.

Pantex says it has spent millions of dollars in improvements to the fire system by installing high-density polyethylene pipes.

But the report noted an “apparent lack of urgency” in correcting failures in the underground pipe system.

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