OH Nukes at Reduced Power

Monday, March 7, 2016 @ 06:03 PM gHale


The nuclear plants in the Toledo, OH, area were operating at reduced power.

In northern Monroe County, DTE Energy’s Fermi 2 nuclear reactor has been at 59 percent power while workers repair a valve in the feedwater system in a non-nuclear area of the plant, DTE Spokesman Stephen Tait said.

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Workers discovered the valve problem when the utility decreased power for a routine adjustment of control rods to help fuel in the reactor end up used more efficiently, Tait said.

DTE expects to have Fermi 2 back at full power soon, he said.

The plant’s most recent refueling and maintenance outage was last fall.

In Ottawa County, FirstEnergy Corp.’s Davis-Besse nuclear plant was at 85 percent power Wednesday.

The plant only got back to full power for about two days after resuming operation the first week of February, FirstEnergy Spokesman Jennifer Young said.

The plant ended up idled Jan. 29 by a fuse failure in a monitoring system, which resulted in an automatic shutdown. That system’s power supply is separate from the reactor.

On Jan. 30, several valves unexpectedly closed in the main steam system. That occurred as a result of an inadvertent signal going out to start the auxiliary feedwater system, which was already operating.

Young said those issues have been resolved and the plant is in a gradual “coast-down period” in preparation for its upcoming refueling and maintenance outage.

“There is not any condition at the plant that is causing us to operate outside of the expected plan for the cycle,” Young said.

She said the company no longer gives advance notice of when those outages will begin because of greater competition caused by Ohio’s deregulated electricity market, nor does it state how long they will last. But she said this upcoming outage is seen as the first fairly routine one in years, and that those typically last 30 to 40 days.

“This is a pretty normal refueling outage,” Young said.

Nuclear plants refuel their reactors once every 18 to 24 months, depending on the type of fuel they use.

Fermi 2 and Davis-Besse are about 30 miles from Toledo and along the Lake Erie shoreline.