Signal Malfunction Shuts NJ Nuke – Twice

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 @ 03:12 PM gHale

A signal malfunction as the Hope Creek nuclear plant was returning to service from an unplanned shutdown Sunday forced the Delaware River-side complex to shut down again early Thursday morning, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials said.

All safety systems operated as designed during the incident on Thursday, although a water level decrease in the reactor vessel during the process triggered a separate reactor protection system pumping of additional cooling water to the core vessel, said Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the NRC’s regional office in King of Prussia, PA.

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A report filed by plant operator, PSEG Nuclear, said the reactor shutdown followed detection of a high water level in a part of the system that separates moisture from steam used to drive turbines and generate electricity.

Sheehan said the same problem led to a shutdown on Sunday, with the plant reaching 76 percent power by 3:25 a.m. Thursday when the moisture separator water level monitoring system triggered another shutdown.

Hope Creek received its initial operating license in July 1986, and can supply nearly 1,200 megawatts. The plant is one of three that PSEG Nuclear owns or co-owns at its Artificial Island, NJ, site along the Delaware River southeast of Augustine Beach. The company also operates the older Salem Units 1 and 2 at Artificial Island. The entire operation ranks as the nation’s second largest nuclear generating site.

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