Faulty Valve has NJ Nuke Seeing White

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 @ 05:03 PM gHale

Exelon’s Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant will hold a meeting with the NRC about a faulty pressure relief valve.

A faulty pressure relief valve at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant in Lacey Township, NJ, will be the topic of a meeting between the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and Exelon this week.

Exelon requested the public meeting so officials can explain what led to the violation classified as ‘white’ which translates to a low to moderate safety risk at the plant.

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The NRC finished their inspection of the plant toward the end of 2016, and found the violation in one of the five electromatic relief valves inside the plant.

The commission is ready to work with Exelon to find a solution, said NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.

“Exelon has decided to avail itself to this opportunity and we will certainly grant them that,” Sheehan said. They will come in March 9 to the NRC offices in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

“They (Exelon) have an opportunity to come in and discuss with us something they believe we may have missed ask for additional context,” said Sheehan. “We will of course listen to all of this information and take it under careful consideration.”

A final decision on the violation will occur following the meeting in what could result in additional oversight at the nuclear facility.

During an NRC inspection completed at the end of 2016, NRC staff identified the finding involving one of the plant’s five electromatic relief valves, which would end up used to depressurize the reactor during a pipe break to allow coolant to inject into the reactor core. This is necessary to keep the nuclear fuel in the reactor covered and cooled during a post-accident shutdown.

If the white classification violation sticks as a final verdict then Sheehan explained what will happen to Oyster Creek.

“If it is finalized as white that means it would usually stay open for at least four quarters,” Sheehan said.

He said it can stay open longer if they decide to run a team inspection and Exelon has not resolved the issue.

“The objective here is to alter the performance and make sure this issue does not occur again,” Sheehan said.

Exelon released a statement on the matter:

“Exelon Generation has requested a regulatory conference with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to discuss the review process for a preliminary white finding at the Oyster Creek plant related to the September 2016 declaration of an electromatic relief valve as inoperable.

“We believe the review process may not have allowed sufficient flexibility for an evaluation of all circumstances surrounding this event. We look forward to a dialogue with the Commission around potential improvements to the regulatory process.”

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