Nukes Suffer Unplanned Shutdowns

Wednesday, December 4, 2013 @ 01:12 PM gHale

Unplanned shutdowns are the scourge for any manufacturing automation company and that was what happened in two separate incidents at nuclear power plants.

In one incident, the Hope Creek nuclear plant in Lower Alloways Creek Township in New Jersey is offline after high moisture levels were in the steam that spins the plant’s turbine.

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said all safety systems responded as designed in the Sunday incident. The NRC says no radiation released and there were no injuries.

High moisture can damage the turbine, said PSEG Nuclear spokesman Joe Delmar. The two reactors at the neighboring Salem Generating Station in Lower Alloways Creek Township remain operational, he said.

Meanwhile, the Nine Mile Point Unit 2 nuclear plant on Lake Ontario in Scriba, NY, is off-line after pumps that circulate water through the reactor shut off while shifting to a lower speed.

Constellation Energy Nuclear Group spokeswoman Jill Lyon said the plant will remain off-line until the company does all the repairs and they end up verified.

The shutdown occurred Monday morning. The company said the Unit 1 reactor remains at 100 percent power.

Lyon said Nine Mile Unit 2 had been operating at about 78 percent power since last Tuesday as crews made repairs to the feed water heating system. As part of that work, operators reduced power further to help with the repairs, and when they shifted the pumps to a slower speed both pumps shut down. The pumps subsequently restarted and are operating, but plant officials are still investigating what caused them to fail and what repairs they will need, Lyon said. Once repairs to the equipment are complete, the unit will begin a return to service, she said.

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