Nukes Shut Down

Tuesday, November 6, 2012 @ 09:11 PM gHale

Three nuclear plants suffered through shutdowns over the weekend.

Two of the three nuclear plants in Oswego County, NY, shut down as a result of incidents over the weekend.

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The FitzPatrick nuclear plant, owned by Entergy Nuclear, shut down automatically at 9:53 p.m. Sunday when the plant’s turbine shut down during regularly scheduled testing. Company personnel were still investigating the cause of the turbine trip, said Tammy Holden, speaking for Entergy.

The Nine Mile Point Unit 1 reactor shut down automatically at 8:23 a.m. Saturday because of a water level change in the reactor pressure vessel, according to plant owner Constellation Energy Nuclear Group. The shutdown occurred as plant personnel were restoring the unit to operation following a shutdown last week during Superstorm Sandy.

The two plants remained out of operation, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The third Oswego County plant, Nine Mile Point Unit 2 was operating at 100 percent capacity.

Meanwhile, just days after getting a passing grade in a simulated emergency exercise, the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant near South Haven, MI, shut down Sunday.

Workers discovered a steam leak on a drain valve at 11:15 a.m. Sunday and the plant initiated shutdown at 12:30 p.m., NRC officials said. The event was a non-emergency incident.

“The steam leak could not be isolated or repaired while the plant was in service, so operators removed the plant from service so repairs could be made,” said Mark Savage, spokesman for the plant.

The NRC and the Federal Emergency Management Agency gave a passing review following a drill last week at the facility. During the two-day drill, plant officials had to react to a simulated release of radiation. Agencies from Michigan and Indiana also took part in the drill.

New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. has said the drill was part of usual emergency exercises held at the plant in Van Buren County’s Covert Township in Michigan.

Earlier in October, area emergency crews, volunteers and state officials from the Michigan Department of Agriculture, Michigan Humane Society and state Department of Environmental Quality checked the readiness of decontamination equipment at Fennville High School, a designated center for 2,000 evacuees. The drill included how to decontaminate animals that people might bring with them to the site.

The NRC listed the facility as one of the four lowest-rated power plants in the nation. Several public meetings with plant officials and the NRC have addressed the safety concerns.

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