Big Wear for New Nuke Generators

Tuesday, February 7, 2012 @ 05:02 PM gHale

Just two years after replacement, there is significant wear in a steam generator at California’s San Onofre Nuclear Plant, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials said.

Earlier in the week, San Onofre unit 3 went out of service because of a leaking steam generator tube that resulted in a small release of radioactive steam into an auxiliary building.

Nuke’s Water Pumps Catch NRC’s Eye
Leak Shuts Nuke; Worker Falls in Reactor Pool
Stuck Valve Cuts Nuke Power
Switchyard Caused Nuke Shutdown

On Thursday initial reports from NRC inspectors also outlined wear in similar equipment at neighboring unit 2. During a scheduled outage for maintenance and inspections, the NRC found the thickness of two tubes in one of unit 2’s two steam generators worn away by a third. Of 9,700 tubes in the steam generator, 69 were at least 20 percent worn, and 800 tubes were at least 10 percent worn.

Accelerated wear in the early years of a steam generator’s life is not unprecedented, and inspectors will conduct further tests, an NRC spokesman said.

Southern California Edison replaced all four steam generators at SONGS for $671 million, with installation at unit 2 in 2009 followed by installation at unit 3 last year. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries supplied the generators.

Both units are 1,100 megawatt Combustion Engineering pressurized water reactors first licensed in 1982, according to the NRC.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.