MI Nuke to Replace Part of Leaking Tank

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 @ 04:05 PM gHale

There is now a repair plan for the damaged safety injection refueling water tank that shut down Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in South Haven, MI, earlier this month.

After finding a small crack along a nozzle weld at the bottom of the tank, Palisades officials will completely replace the tank bottom, according to spokesperson Lindsay Rose.

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The facility shut down May 5 after workers discovered the leaking tank. The leak released a small amount of radioactive water into Lake Michigan.

The replacement of the tank bottom could take until early summer, Rose said.

“We are confident this very conservative approach will bring this issue to final resolution,” Rose said.

Palisades officials say the leak had no impact on the health or safety of the public or employees.

Officials discovered the day before they found the leak that 79 gallons of slightly radioactive tank water spilled into Lake Michigan.

Although the tank has leaked twice in less than a year, officials say there is no immediate risk.

“There is no impact on the health and safety of plant employees or the public,” a spokeswoman for the Entergy plant said.

Having said that, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials estimate “79 gallons of ‘slightly’ radioactive water” flowed into Lake Michigan.

The level of tritium and other radionuclides in the water that went into Lake Michigan during the unplanned release was not high enough to be detectable and was well within allowed NRC standards, said the NRC’s Viktoria Mitlyng.

“This tank has leaked before. It leaked in 2012. The plant had to shut down to repair the leak to the tank,” Mitlyng said. “It’s a repeat occurrence.”

The leakage in 2012 caused water seepage into the plant’s control room. The most recent shutdown happened after the water tank exceeded a 38-gallon daily leak limit set after last year’s shutdown.

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