Safety Kicks in, Shuts PA Nuke
Monday, November 16, 2015 @ 04:11 PM gHale
Talen Energy’s Unit 1 reactor at Susquehanna Nuclear plant in Salem Township, PA, shut down Thursday and federal and company officials are still trying to figure out what happened.
The shutdown occurred at 11:32 a.m. with the activation of safety features that are part of the reactor’s protection system, the company said.
“Susquehanna’s nuclear professionals are investigating the exact cause of the shutdown and have confirmed that all systems are responding as expected,” said Susquehanna site Vice President Jon Franke. “Our operators followed established procedures and kept the unit in a safe and stable condition.”
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) spokesman Neil Sheehan said a preliminary review indicates the reactor tripped due to high pressure levels.
At the time of the shutdown, plant personnel were testing a main steam line — lines that carry steam generated in the reactor to the turbine, which then ends up spun by the steam to generate electricity — that apparently resulted in a main steam isolation valve closing, which could account for increasing reactor pressure levels, Sheehan said. These isolation valves close during a reactor accident to prevent the release of radioactivity into the environment, he said.
Talen is investigating the cause of the main steam isolation valve closing, Sheehan said.