PA Nuke Down to Fix Cracked Blade

Wednesday, October 5, 2016 @ 11:10 AM gHale

A reactor at Talen Energy’s Susquehanna nuclear plant in Luzerne County, PA, shut down as part of an effort to repair cracks in one of the turbine’s metal blades.

The reactor in Berwick, PA, safely disconnected from the regional power grid early Saturday. The work is part of a wide-ranging turbine replacement project.

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“Since we are addressing a single blade, we expect this to be a brief outage and the plant will inform its neighbors when we return to service,” said Tim Rausch, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer.

The plant generates electricity by boiling water to make steam that spins many rows of fan-like metal blades in a turbine. Talen has been working with the manufacturer of the steam turbines at both units to understand and address very small cracks that have been forming in the blades.

Recently, engineers identified crack development on one blade in unit two where modifications have not been completed as part of a “continuing multi-year, systemic blade modification and replacement project” that will be completed on both units by the end of 2018.