NRC official addresses lake level concerns

An official of the government’s nuclear watchdog agency has told a Pickens County couple that, as long as the level of Lake Keowee is kept 791 feet above mean sea level, Oconee’s three nuclear reactors can continue to operate safely. Robert Pascarelli of the NRC’s Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation said, “If Lake Keowee goes below that level, and it is not restored within three days, the reactors must be placed in cold shutdown.” Pascarelli yesterday sent a letter to the David Netts of the Pickens County community of Sunset, in response to the couple’s letter that Duke Energy might lower the water level in the lake by five feet, creating a negative effect on waterfront lots and property values. But the NRC official said the Netts’ concerns are with lake levels in the range of 790 to 800 feet. And, for that, he said, FERC, a different federal agency, regulate operational levels in Keowee. And he referred the couple to that agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.