Nine Mile Repairing Leaky Valve

Friday, February 24, 2012 @ 05:02 PM gHale

Repairs are continuing after workers discovered a leaky valve Sunday at Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station Unit 1, in Scriba, NY, said Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials.

The Nine Mile Point Unit 1 reactor remains shut down for repair work for a leak on a containment building’s isolation valve, said NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan. “The isolation valve would be among those used to ‘isolate’ or seal off the containment building in the event of accident,” Sheehan said.

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Operators at Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station Unit 1 shut down the plant’s reactor Sunday after detecting increased water in the plant’s containment system caused by the leaky valve.

“Our resident inspectors assigned to the plant are continuing to follow up on Constellation’s plans to fix the valve, the maintenance history of the valve and whether any similar valves have experienced leakage or might be susceptible to it,” Sheehan said, adding there are three other containment building isolation valves at the plant.

Due to proprietary trading practices, Constellation Energy Nuclear Group Senior Communications Consultant Jill Lyon was unable to comment on the length of time the plant would be off the grid, or the expected duration of the repairs. “I can tell you that we’re continuing with the repairs. Once everything has been completed and post-maintenance testing has been done, then we’ll begin the process of startup,” Lyon said.

Lyon said plant operators reduced power to the nuclear reactor Saturday after identifying an increase of water leaking inside the drywell.

“In accordance with their procedures and training, (they) appropriately reduced power at the unit in order to perform inspections to identify the source of the leak,” Lyon said. She noted the drywell is a steel-reinforced concrete structure with an airtight steel liner that houses a boiling water reactor vessel and associated piping. “The drywell is up to 6 feet thick in places, and is part of the plant’s primary containment system,” she added.

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