Special Inspection at MA Nuke

Tuesday, February 3, 2015 @ 04:02 PM gHale

A special inspection started at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant to review issues surrounding a storm-induced unplanned shutdown Jan. 27, federal officials said.

Entergy Nuclear owns and operates the Plymouth, MA-based single-unit boiling-water reactor.

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The six-member team from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will review equipment issues that occurred during the shutdown, including the partial loss of off-site power; the failure of a condensate pump motor associated with the plant’s High-Pressure Coolant Injection (HPCI) system; and the malfunctioning of one of the plant’s four safety relief valves.

Pilgrim, like other nuclear power plants, transmits power to the grid but also receives power back for operational purposes. During the recent major winter storm, one of two 345-kilovolt lines that provide off-site power to the plant tripped. In response, plant operators began reducing power. At about 50 percent power, the second 345-kilovolt line also tripped, resulting in a reactor shutdown, or scram, at about 4 a.m. A third off-site power line, a 23-kilovolt line, remained available.

Operators started the plant’s two emergency diesel generators and transferred electrical loads for safety systems to those on-site power supplies due to concerns with off-site power. Operators performed the transfer prior to the loss of the off-site power lines.

“The Pilgrim reactor was safely shut down following the loss of two off-site power lines,” said NRC Region I Administrator Dan Dorman. “Nevertheless, we want to examine more closely the challenges that surfaced during the event, including safety system and equipment problems and the loss of the two off-site power lines.”

An inspection report documenting the team’s findings will release within 45 days after the completion of the review.



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