Pump Fails, Shuts Seabrook Nuke

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 @ 05:10 PM gHale

Seabrook Station nuclear power plant remains shut down after the safety system sensed a low level of water in the steam generator, said Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials.

The Seabrook, NH, plant shut down at 12:27 p.m. as its safety system prescribed, after sensing low water levels in the steam generator, NRC officials said. The incident did not pose a threat to public health and safety, and there were no radioactive releases, said NRC spokeswoman Diane Screnci.

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The plant is currently stable at normal operating temperature and pressure, NRC officials said. The status of the nuclear power plant “remains unchanged” since the end of last week, when a faulty pump led to a low level of water in the structure’s steam generator, said Seabrook Station spokesman Al Griffith.

“We remain offline while we make repairs and we’ll be back online when we complete those repairs,” Griffith said.

NextEra Energy owns 88.2 percent of the plant, and its share generates enough power to supply the daily needs of more than 900,000 homes, according to a website for the company.

Indeed, low water levels occurred because of a pump that stopped during “a filling and venting of a condensate pump that was being returned to service following maintenance,’’ the NRC said. The exact cause of the pump stoppage is under investigation.

Screnci said it is the company’s responsibility to determine what happened in the incident.

An NRC senior resident inspector responded to the control room and observed plant operators implementing the emergency operating procedures, the NRC said.

The inspector confirmed plant conditions were stable and it did not reach any emergency level thresholds, NRC officials said.

NRC resident inspectors will continue monitoring plant conditions and conducting inspections to ensure the company understands what happened and why, NRC officials said. Incidents similar to the Seabrook shutdown tend to occur less than once a year, Screnci said.

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