Progress Energy has notified federal regulators that a Shearon Harris nuclear plant contractor was hospitalized for a medical emergency and as a precaution was presumed to be contaminated by radioactivity.
The contractor was taken by ambulance and accompanied to Rex Hospital by the plant's radiation protection personnel because there was no time to time to survey the worker for radioactive contamination.
When the contractor was in the hospital, she and the ambulance that transported her were surveyed and found to contain no radioactive contamination. Her scrubs and belongings were brought back to the Shearon Harris plant for monitoring and were found to be clean, said Progress spokesman Mike Hughes.
"This is not unusual if a person working in a radiation controlled area suffers a heart attack or has some other emergency condition that requires immediate transport," said NRC spokesman Roger Hannah. "If, due to the emergency, a person is unable to do that, they are considered 'potentially contaminated.'"
The Shearon Harris nuclear plant, operated by Progress Energy, is less than 25 miles from downtown Raleigh. Progress is not releasing the contractor's job function or the nature of her medical emergency.
The contractor worked in the Reactor Auxiliary Building and the medical emergency occurred at about 11:37 p.m. on Friday. Shearon Harris offiicals notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Saturday morning.
The Reactor Auxiliary Building building contains vital plant equipment to operate the reactor, including equipment with radioactive systems like the reactor coolant system, residual heat removal and others, Hughes said.