Entergy Files Suit in Nuclear One Accident

Entergy Arkansas Inc. is suing a subcontractor for a March machinery accident at Arkansas Nuclear One in Russellville that killed one worker and injured three others.

Bigge Crane & Rigging Co. of San Leandro, Calif., was hired to build a gantry, a bridge-like frame, to move a 550-ton generation turbine as part of a regular refueling operation, according to the suit filed this month in Pope County Circuit Court.

The job entailed lifting the turbine, called a “stator,” from its cradle, moving it over the turbine deck, turning it 90 degrees and lowering it onto a transport vehicle. The gantry was designed by Claus Frederiksen, an engineer working for Bigge, the suit says.

Entergy alleges that Bigge didn’t properly test the gantry before lifting the stator. Frederiksen claimed in a letter that the gantry had been used to lift heavier objects before. He also claimed it would be impossible to perform a load test.

The gantry collapsed while turning, dropping the stator onto the turbine floor and, along with death and injury, also caused significant damage to the building and its systems. After the accident, Entergy rerouted power through other, more expensive means while the nuclear power plant was inspected for further damage.

The suit also names DP Engineering Ltd. of Fort Worth, Texas, VEI General Contractors Inc. of Russellville and John Scroggins, an employee of DP, all for having a part in what the suit describes as miscommunication about the accident.

Entergy is seeking undetermined monetary damages for repairs and for increased administrative and generation costs.