Nuke Electrical Fault Fixed

Friday, August 3, 2012 @ 02:08 PM gHale

The electrical fault that triggered Oyster Creek Generating Station to go offline and 22,000 Ocean County, NJ, residents to be powerless last week was the result of an electrical ground caused by a tree contacting one transmission line, a new report said.

There also was an unrelated electrical circuit breaker coordinator problem that affected another transmission line running between the power plant and its connection to the electrical grid, said the report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

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The transmission system operator repaired the problems, the report said.

Following the electrical fault, Oyster Creek declared an “unusual event” for two hours and went offline for six days.

Two isolation condensers cooled the reactor and both emergency diesel generators automatically started and provided electrical power to safety equipment, the report said.

Due to the loss of offsite power, power to the reactor protection system also was interrupted, which caused the primary containment isolation, as expected, the report said. Plant operators utilized necessary equipment to control reactor pressure and level.

Plant operator and owner, Exelon Corp., also initially reported to the NRC the reactor building differential pressure indicated positive 0.25 inches at 3:57 a.m. and returned to its normal negative pressure at 4:34 a.m. on July 23.

It was determined there was an instrument error due to a loss of instrument air. The containment pressure actually remained at its normal level throughout the unusual event, the NRC report said.

NRC’s resident inspectors responded to Oyster Creek and monitored the plant operator’s actions to stabilize the plant, restore offsite power and troubleshoot plant systems, the report said.

Oyster Creek returned to service July 28. The generating station is the oldest operating nuclear power plant in the country.

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