Power plant brings reactor back online

From the Citizen's Voice:

PPL brought Unit 1 of the Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant back on line Wednesday after flooding forced the utility to shut it down for roughly 20 days.

An estimated 950,000 gallons of Susquehanna River water flooded the basement of the plant's turbine building on July 16. The water flowed from hatches that allow access to the unit's condenser - where the river water cools steam leaving the turbine.

During the shutdown, PPL repaired the circulating water system and assessed equipment in the turbine building, plant manager Jeff Helsel said in a news release. The damage forced PPL to bring in extra help to dry and repair equipment shortly after the flood.

In addition, all the flood water was stored in tanks and tested several times for radiological and industrial contaminants.

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Flooding Chronology at PPL's Nuclear Plant

DCS No.:   0500038708042010
Date:         August 4, 2010
 
PRELIMINARY NOTIFICATION OF EVENT OR UNUSUAL OCCURRENCE -- PNO-I-10-004A
 
Facility
Susquehanna Steam Electric Station
PPL, Susquehanna, LLC.
Berwick, PA
Docket:  50-387
Licensee Emergency Classification: Not Applicable
 
 
SUBJECT:      (UPDATE) SUSQUEHANNA UNIT 1 MANUAL SCRAM AND SHUTDOWN GREATER THAN 72 HOURS DUE TO AN INTERNAL FLOODING EVENT
 
 
At 4:41 p.m. on July 16, 2010, Susquehanna Unit 1 operators manually scrammed the reactor due to a non-isolable circulating water leak in the main condenser bay.  On August 2nd Susquehanna Unit 1 was restarted and at 6:09 am on August 4, the operators synchronized Unit 1 to the electrical grid.
 
PPL Engineering personnel identified the source of the circulating water system leak to be from two large gasketed manway hatches.  The ‘B’ and ‘D’ inlet water box access manway gaskets were found to have been dislodged and significantly extruded from the manway joints.  The main condenser access manways consist of a 20” diameter pipe (manway) that is sealed with a bolted metal hatch secured by four large bolts. To ensure a watertight seal, a gasket is installed on the manway.  Tension on the bolts that secure the hatch ensures the gasket forms a water-tight seal.  In addition, an epoxy coating applied on the manway overlapped onto the gasket seating surface in several locations.
 
PPL management concluded that the smooth and non-uniform coat of epoxy on the gasket seating surface, as well as insufficient tightening of the manway bolts, allowed the gaskets to dislodge and leak when a system pressure spike was experienced.  Cleaning of the cooling tower intake screen was in process during this event and may have caused a pressure spike in these two inlet water boxes.  Corrective actions taken included: 1) replacing the manway gaskets on all of the water boxes; 2) increasing the torque applied to the manway bolts; 3) roughening the epoxy coating on the manway where it contacts the gasket; and 4) conducting additional pre-installation inspections recommended by the gasket vendor.
 
PPL personnel inspected and repaired, as necessary, equipment impacted by this internal flooding event.   Approximately a million gallons of river water have been removed from the main condenser bay.  The water was processed, tested, and discharged in accordance with plant procedures ensuring all NRC regulatory limits were met.
 
The NRC inspectors onsite observed PPL’s troubleshooting and repair actions; attended plant restart readiness meetings; monitored PPL’s dewatering and plant discharge activities; and observed plant startup events.  The NRC’s inspection results will be documented in the next quarterly integrated inspection report.
 
The information presented herein has been discussed with the Susquehanna Plant Manager and is current as of August 4, 2010, at 9:00 a.m.
 
Region I Public Affairs is prepared to respond to media inquires.
 
ADAMS Accession Number:  ML102160675              
 
CONTACT:  Paul Krohn at (610) 337-5120 or Andrew Rosebrook at (610) 337-5199        

Unit 1 at Susquehanna Nuclear Plant Returns to Service

BERWICK, Pa., Aug. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Unit 1 at PPL's Susquehanna nuclear plant in Luzerne County, Pa., returned to service Wednesday (8/4).

Operators at the plant had safely shut down the Unit 1 reactor July 16 after river water entered the turbine building basement from hatches that provide access to part of the unit's condenser. The condenser uses river water to cool the steam leaving the turbine.

"While the unit was shut down, we made repairs to the circulating water system and assessed the equipment in the turbine building basement," said Jeff Helsel, PPL's Susquehanna plant manager. "The equipment was repaired as needed and thoroughly tested to ensure that the unit is ready to run safely and reliably."

All of the water removed from the turbine building basement was processed according to approved plant procedures.

The Susquehanna plant, located in Luzerne County 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 atwww.pplweb.com .

Chamber of Commerce Goes After Climate Dissenters In Its Ranks

From Mother Jones:

A new split over climate policy is brewing within the ranks of the US Chamber of Commerce as a breakaway group of local chambers is getting ready to publicly split with the business lobby's hardline stance against climate legislation. The new climate coalition, known as the Chambers for Innovation and Clean Energy (CICE), will press Congress to take stronger action on climate and energy issues. It has already signed up about a dozen chambers and will officially launch later this year.

The US Chamber is already working behind the scenes to discredit the new group. After it caught wind of the effort last month, it fired off a letter to local chamber leaders, discouraging them from joining CICE, which it claimed was "established by the Natural Resources Defense Council." The letter, written by US Chamber board member Winthrop Hallett, the president of Alabama's Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, states that the new group's "indirect purpose appears to be undermining the U.S. Chamber's and the business community's leadership on" climate issues.

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Chernobyl zone shows decline in biodiversity

From BBC News:

The largest wildlife census of its kind conducted in Chernobyl has revealed that mammals are declining in the exclusion zone surrounding the nuclear power plant.

The study aimed to establish the most reliable way to measure the impact on wildlife of contamination in the zone.

It was based on almost four years of counting and studying animals there.

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A New Dawn for Nuclear?

From Bloomsburg Businessweek:

Recently there's been much talk of a nuclear renaissance in the U.S. And that's all it is right now: talk. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is acting. More than 50 new nuclear plants are under construction around the world, including 24 in China alone. In the U.S. is just one.

Today nuclear power supplies roughly one-fifth of U.S. electricity needs—safely, reliably, and cheaply. It can continue to do so in the future and perhaps even expand its share, but only with sensible policies in place.

We must begin by acknowledging the threat from climate change. While the science of climate change will never be settled to the satisfaction of every observer, we know enough to say there is a significant risk that global warming will cause dire consequences. Confronted with risk, prudent individuals—and prudent societies—take out insurance policies to protect against potentially catastrophic losses.

What form should this insurance take? One school of thought says we can achieve all of the greenhouse gas reductions necessary through renewable energy and the increased efficiency of our homes and offices. "While nuclear power undergoes yet another face-lift, energy efficiency and renewable technologies will continue to provide the best opportunity to slow climate change," says Greenpeace on its "No New Nukes!" blog. As the chief executive of the nation's largest producer of renewable energy from wind and solar power, I wish that were true. But the simple fact is that there is no way renewables and energy efficiency alone will get us where we need to go.

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Shattuck: New nuclear reactor at Calvert Cliffs is in doubt

From the Maryland Daily Record:

Shares of Constellation Energy Group fell nearly 5 percent Wednesday after the company cast doubt on its plan to build a new nuclear power reactor in Maryland.

Constellation CEO Mayo A. Shattuck III warned that delays securing a federal nuclear loan guarantee jeopardized the company’s plan to build a third nuclear power reactor at Calvert Cliffs in Lusby, putting hundreds of potential jobs on the line.

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Safety Concerns Delay Approval of the First U.S. Nuclear Reactor in Decades

From Scientific American

A new era for nuclear power is taking shape as third-generation reactors, designed to be simpler and safer, inch through the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) design certification process. Much of nuclear's revival hinges on the ability of new reactors to outshine those of yore in terms of safety, economics, construction time and life span.

Of the 26 new reactor applications under current NRC scrutiny, 14 are for Westinghouse Electric Co.'s AP1000 pressurized water reactor. What sets the reactor apart is its modular design and passive safety system: Instead of relying on an operator or electronic feedback to shut down the reactor should it overheat, it employs the natural forces of gravity, convection and air circulation.

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Susquehanna: Fitness for Duty Report

Facility: SUSQUEHANNA

Event Number: 46135

FITNESS FOR DUTY REPORT

A licensed operator was determined to have violated the licensee's Fitness for Duty Policy related to self-reporting a legal action. The employee's access to the Protected Area has been revoked. Contact the Headquarters Operations Officer for additional details.

Beaver Valley & Perry Nuclear: Request to Extinguish Parental Guaranty

Beaver Valley Power Station, Unit Nos. 1 and 2, and Perry Nuclear Power Plant, Unit No. 1 - Request for consent to Extinguish Parental Guaranty – ADAMS Accession no. ML101930016
 

Download ML101930016

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