SSES terminates emergency

Facility: SUSQUEHANNA

Event Number: 46164

Event Date: 08/10/2010

ALERT DECLARED DUE TO FREON-12 LEAK IN REACTOR BUILDING CHILLER

"At 0911 EDT, the Susquehanna LLC Shift Manager was notified that a member of the SSES [Susquehanna Steam Electric Station] work force was feeling ill effects from a Freon-12 leak located in a plant vital area. This met the declaration criteria for an Alert under [EAL] OA-7 of the emergency plan which was declared at 0922 EDT.

"The affected area has been evacuated and recovery actions are in progress to isolate the leak. No personnel were injured or medical attention was required."

The leak is in the 1A Reactor Building chiller unit. At the time of notification, the leak was still active. The licensee is preparing a team to enter the area to investigate. No outside assistance is required.

Notified DHS (Hill), FEMA (Heyman), DOE (Smith), USDA (Mitchell) and HHS (Rolle).

* * * UPDATE FROM DARVIN DUTTRY TO DONALD NORWOOD AT 0044 EDT ON 8/11/2010 * * *

"At 2335 EDT on 8/10/10, the Alert was terminated. The Chiller has been evacuated of Freon-12. Freon detectors show no presence of Freon-12 on U1 Reactor Building Elevation 749 [feet], except in the immediate vicinity from the leak site with temporary ventilation in service.

"All state and local agencies have been advised, the NRC Resident Inspector has been notified and a press release will be made."

Agencies that the licensee notified included the Columbia County Emergency Management Agency, the Luzerne County Emergency Management Agency, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

Notified R1DO (Ferdas), NRR EO (Nelson), IRD Manager (Gott), DHS (Doyle), FEMA (O'Connell), DOE (Morrone), HHS (White), and USDA (Timmons).

PPL Susquehanna Reports Progress With Freon Leak

PRESS RELEASE

BERWICK, Pa., Aug. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- While an alert remains in effect at PPL's Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County, Pa., workers have made significant progress to stop a leak of Freon vapor in the Unit 1 reactor building.

"We're safely removing the Freon from a chiller in the Unit 1 reactor building and placing it in storage tanks on site," said Miriam Mylin, spokeswoman for the Susquehanna plant. "The work is going well, and the leak has been significantly diminished."

Mylin said public safety is not at risk, plant employees are safe and there have been no injuries reported.

The plant declared an alert Tuesday morning (8/10) when employees detected Freon leaking in an area that contains plant safety systems. An alert is the second lowest of the four emergency classifications established by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for nuclear power plants.

Freon is used as a refrigerant in the air-conditioning system for the reactor building and provides cooling to pump motors in the reactor building.  

Unit 1 continues to operate at full power. Unit 2 is not affected and continues to operate at full power.

PPL has activated its Joint Information Center at the East Mountain Business Center just off Route 115, south of Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The phone number is 1-866-832-4474.

The Susquehanna plant, located about seven miles north of Berwick, is owned jointly by PPL Susquehanna LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. and is operated by PPL Susquehanna.

PPL Susquehanna is one of PPL Corporation's generating facilities. Headquartered in Allentown, Pa., PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) controls or owns nearly 12,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets and delivers electricity to about 4 million customers in Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom. More information is available at www.pplweb.com.

Note to Editors: A Susquehanna Nuclear Energy Guide is available on the PPL media Web site at www.pplnewsroom.com. The guide provides specific plant and general nuclear energy information.

SOURCE PPL Susquehanna

NRC Monitoring 'Alert' Declared at Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant

From the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is monitoring PPL’s response to an “Alert” declared this morning at the Susquehanna nuclear power plant, which is located in Salem Township (Luzerne County), Pa. The Alert – the second-lowest of four emergency classifications used by the NRC – was declared at 9:22 a.m. after toxic gas – believed to be Freon – was identified by workers in the Unit 1 Reactor Building. As a precaution, PPL, which owns and operates the two-reactor plant, has evacuated that building.  No injuries have been reported. 

Freon apparently leaked from a chiller, or air-conditioning, system used to maintain certain temperatures inside the Reactor Building. That structure houses safety systems used to support the operation of the reactor, but those systems have not been impacted by the event.

The NRC has two Resident Inspectors stationed at Susquehanna who are following PPL’s response to the event. In addition, the NRC Region I Office, in King of Prussia, Pa., has activated its Incident Response Center and is closely monitoring the company’s actions from there.

PPL is seeking to identify the exact source of the Freon leakage and terminate it. Both reactors at the site remain in operation. As of earlier today, Susquehanna 1 was at 100-percent power and Susquehanna 2 was at 94-percent power.

Appropriate federal and state officials have been notified regarding the event.

 

2 SC nuclear power plant employees face possible firing for bringing weapons to work

From WYFF:

Two employees at South Carolina nuclear power plant could be fired for bringing a weapon to work, an official confirmed Wednesday.

Oconee Nuclear Station security officers found the weapons on two employees over the past couple of weeks as they entered the Duke Energy plant, company representative Sandra Magee saidThe discoveries were not believed to be related.Magee said she didn't know what type of weapons were found. Duke Energy officials are interviewing the workers who broke company rules, Magee said.

Read more

International physicians group calls for ban on uranium mining

From Beyond Nuclear:

The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) adopted a resolution at its International Council meeting on Sunday in Basel, Switzerland, calling for a ban on uranium mining and the production of yellowcake (uranium oxide). The resolution described both processes as “irresponsible” and “a grave threat to health and to the environment”.

The resolution also describes uranium mining and yellowcake production as a “violation of human rights”. The right to life, liberty and security, to physical integrity, self-determination, the protection of human dignity, the right to clean water are just some of the rights that are afflicted by uranium mining and its processes, say the doctors.

Read more

"Let Them Eat Fish:" Reflections on Deceptive Advertising by Entergy and BP

From the Huffington Post:

As campaign season heats up in my home state of Vermont, environmentally conscious voters have been remarking on the similarity between media ads on local TV by Entergy, owner of the radiation-leaking Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, and BP, responsible for the worst environmental catastrophe in American history.

Both Louisiana-based giants are trying to assure the public that the worst is past, that they are responsible corporate citizens cleaning up their respective messes, and the public has nothing to fear. But like the proverbial Pinocchio whose nose gets longer every lie, their respective PR teams have made their mutual cover-ups even more obvious.

Read more

New ActNow! Video

From Beyond Nuclear:

Please watch our newest short video production, ActNow! A nuclear disaster – potentially even worse than the Gulf tragedy – could be inevitable if we do not take the necessary steps to prevent one. We have already witnessed major nuclear accidents – at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Church Rock and elsewhere. Please ActNow! Call the White House and Congress and please sign our petition today.

TMI: Revised Security Rule

THREE MILE ISLAND UNIT 2: - REVISED POWER REACTOR SECURITY RULE

Download PDF

Russia's wildfires threaten nuclear sites

From the Guardian:

Forest wardens today stepped up patrols in the Chernobyl fallout zone as a leading ecologist warned that fires could send radioactive particles as far as Moscow.

Around 160,000 emergency personnel are battling 600 wildfires across Russia, 290 of which ignited in the last 24 hours.

Greenpeace said at least 20 fires – three of them in a highly contaminated forest area – had broken out in the Bryansk region, bordering northern Ukraine, in recent days.

Bryansk was part of the zone sprayed with a plume of radioactive isotopes caesium-137 and strontium-90 when the Chernobyl power plant's fourth reactor exploded in 1986.

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NEWS RELEAE: San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace

San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace
P.O. Box 3608
San Luis Obispo, CA 93403
www.mothersforpeace.org

NEWS RELEASE
 
For Immediate Release

August 4, 2010

Today a 3-judge panel of the  U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) handed down a decision to accept four of the five Contentions filed by the San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace (SLOMFP) in opposition to Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (PG&E’s) application for license renewal of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Although the current operating licenses for the two reactors do not expire until 2024/2025, PG&E is asking for permission to operate the units an additional 20 years, until 2044/2045.
 
In its decision, the ASLB narrowed down some of the Contentions by ruling out some points of law while allowing others to remain. The next step within the legal process is a hearing in which evidence will be heard in support of the four Contentions of the SLOMFP accepted by the ASLB.
 
According to SLOMFP spokesperson Jane Swanson, “Since 1973 our all-volunteer, local group has used legal processes to force the federal regulators of nuclear plants to better enforce federal laws designed to protect the environment and citizens. Our goal, with the services of our attorney in Washington D.C., Diane Curran, is to ensure that safety issues pertaining to both the reactors and the radioactive wastes at Diablo Canyon are fully studied before the NRC considers PG&E’s application for license renewal.”
 
A summary of the four Contentions accepted by the ASLB follows:
 

  • PG&E has failed to demonstrate the ability to safely manage the aging plant, which was designed in the 1960’s, and constructed between the late 1960’s and the early 1980’s. NRC inspection reports document an “adverse trend” of chronic errors in the management of safety equipment at Diablo Canyon.  SLOMFP is concerned that PG&E’s inability to identify and correct current problems in a timely and effective way will be repeated in the license renewal term, when detecting aging effects like corrosion and degradation will be even more challenging.
  •  PG&E ‘s application lacks crucial information on the seismic risks to Diablo, given that studies of the Shoreline Fault, identified in 2008, are incomplete.  Seismic studies of the newly discovered fault and its potential interaction with the Hosgri fault will not be completed until 2013. SLOMFP contends that PG&E and the NRC should wait for the study results before reaching any conclusions about the risks posed by severe earthquakes.
  • PG&E has failed to address the airborne environmental impacts of a reasonably foreseeable spectrum of spent fuel pool accidents, including accidents caused by earthquakes, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • PG&E’s  application lacks a required  discussion of the cost-effectiveness of measures to mitigate the environmental impacts of an attack on the Diablo Canyon reactor during the license renewal term.

The one Contention not admitted was SLOMFP’s assertion that PG&E has failed to evaluate the environmental impacts of a terrorist  attack on the Diablo Canyon spent fuel pool during the proposed 20-year license extension terms.
 
The date of the evidentiary hearing is not yet scheduled.
 
The ASLB decision is not yet posted on the NRC website as this press release is being sent, although some media in the San Luis Obispo area may have received a copy directly from the NRC. Please contact Jane Swanson at the email address above to request the 119-page decision as an email attachment.

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