Non-Radioactive Water Leaks at MI Nuke

Friday, February 22, 2013 @ 04:02 PM gHale

Non-radioactive water from the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in South Haven, MI, leaked into the environment last week and federal regulators at the plant monitoring the issue.

The leak did not put the public in danger, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials said.

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New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. owns and operates the plant shut down Feb. 15, for repairs and remains off-line.

The leak was in one of the plant’s two heat exchangers in the component cooling water system that removes heat from pipes, pumps and other equipment, said Viktoria Mitlyng, NRC office of public affairs in Illinois.

The exchangers, which consist of about 2,000 tubes each, help remove heat during normal operation and potential accident scenarios, she said. Palisades has two heat exchangers, which must be in working condition.

At the time the plant shut down, a tube in the exchanger was leaking about 35 gallons of water per hour and increasing.

“The expert was sent to the plant due to a highly technical nature of the issue,” said Mitlyng. “Over the weekend, all three NRC inspectors continued to review and assess the work to find and fix the leak.”

Electrical work on the main generator disconnect switch in the plant’s switchyard will also take place while the plant is out of service, said spokesman Mark Savage.

The Feb. 15 shutdown was the first since the NRC upgraded the plant upgraded in November after a series of safety issues the last two years, including being out of service for almost a month in June for a leak in a 300,000-gallon water tank.

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