For Immediate Release
Unit 1 at PPL’s Susquehanna nuclear power plant near Berwick, Luzerne County, Pa., safely shut down late Friday afternoon (7/16).
“Operators made a conservative decision to safely shut down Unit 1 following a leak of river water into the turbine building basement,” said Jeff Helsel, PPL’s Susquehanna plant manager. “The river water entered the basement from a hatch that provides access to part of the unit’s condenser. The condenser uses river water to cool the steam leaving the turbine.”
Following repairs, operators will restore the system and return the unit to service.
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.
* All units reduced to maintain cooler river temperatures
* Plants at reduced power until river temperatures moderate
(Adds details on power reduction)
NEW YORK, July 16 (Reuters) - All three units at the Tennessee Valley
Authority Browns Ferry nuclear power station in Alabama were reduced by
early Friday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in its power
reactor status report.
A spokesman for TVA said all three units were reduced to "maintain
river temperature permit with the state of Alabama."
There is a 90 degree, 24-hour downstream permit that the plants are not
allowed to exceed, said spokesman Jason Huffine.
The units were at about 65 percent of capacity early Friday, after
being reduced to about half power overnight, and all three were expected to
remain at reduced power until the river temperatures moderate, Huffine
The Browns Ferry nuclear power plant consists of the 1,065-megawatt
Unit 1, the 1,104-MW Unit 2 and the 1,105-MW Unit 3.
Congressman Ed Markey
For Immediate Release
In letter to NRC, Markey renews call for improved oversight of buried piping systems.
WASHINGTON, D.C. –Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee released a letter today he sent to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reiterating his concerns over the process for inspecting buried piping systems at our nation's nuclear power plants in light of media reports of another potential tritium leak.
Recently, the Boston Globe reported that a groundwater monitoring well located between Plymouth’s Pilgrim Nuclear Station and the Atlantic Ocean detected elevated concentrations of tritium. Identification of this radioactive isotope is often the first sign of leaking buried pipes at nuclear power stations. The NRC has already identified at least 32 separate incidents of such leaks, most recently at the Vermont Yankee plant.
“This report is yet another disturbing reminder of the dangers lurking in the miles and miles of buried pipes within nuclear reactors that have never been inspected and will likely never be inspected,” said Markey. “This is simply unacceptable and cannot possibly be sufficient to ensure the safety of both the public and the plant.”
In the letter, Chairman Markey urged the NRC to pay additional attention to the issue of the inspection, maintenance and oversight of buried piping systems.
“The possibility that there are buried pipes leaking tritium at Pilgrim is not surprising. After all, the plant is almost 40 years old and located in a corrosive near-shore environment,” Markey wrote in the letter. “The current inspection regime for buried pipes – physical inspections conducted only in those rare instances when pipes are dug out for other purposes – is incapable of ensuring the integrity of decades-old piping systems.”
“Other industries have figured out how to inspect their buried pipes in a proactive and comprehensive fashion. How many more failures do the nuclear industry and the NRC need before they admit that aging buried systems need additional attention?”
Full text of the letter can be found here http://markey.house.gov/docs/nrc_pilgrim-leak_july2010.pdf
From the State:
Nuclear power plant officials in South Carolina admit they missed opportunities to discover issues that led to blockages in the plant's emergency water lines.
But the Greenville News reports that Oconee Nuclear Station officials told the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Atlanta on Tuesday the missed observations shouldn't lead to more oversight.
One of Oconee's reactors lost power and cooling for two seconds during a scheduled maintenance outage in April 2008.
Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, Units 2 and 3: Non-Acceptance of License Amendment Request Related to Extending Completion Time for Technical Specification 3.1.7, "Standby Liquid Control system" (TAC Nos. ME3598 and ME3599)
From the Newport Daily Press:
One of Dominion Virginia Power's two nuclear reactors in Surry County is currently shut down because of a leak in a pipe that carries river water to cool the steam in a condensor.
Jim Norvelle, spokesman for Dominion, said the Surry 2 reactor was shut down on Sunday night after the leak was detected in a pipe, 8 feet in diameter, used to pass water from the James River through the condensor.
Norvelle said the leak, which was "less than 100 gallons per minute," did not pose any danger and was not disrupting the service for any Dominion customers. He said the leak could not be repaired while the reactor was operating. There was no immediate estimate on how long the reactor would be down.
From Wicked Local Plymouth:
Elevated levels of the radioactive isotope tritium have been detected in one of the new groundwater monitoring wells at Pilgrim Station Nuclear Power Plant.
The release, issued Thursday by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of test results taken from a sample of one of the 12 monitoring wells by Pilgrim staff June 21, states that the level falls within federal drinking water limits and does not require public notification but the information is being released because it’s an issue of public interest.
Six of the 12 monitoring wells were added in May. The monitoring well where the tritium was detected at 11,072 picocuries per liter is located near the condensate storage tank that stores water for use in the nuclear reactor. The Environmental Protection Agency’s safe drinking water limit for tritium is 20,000 picocuries per liter.
Pilgrim spokesman David Tarantino, representing Pilgrim owner Entergy Nuclear Operations, said despite identifying increased levels of tritium in samples taken May 17, June 11 and June 21, there’s no threat to public drinking water. He said there’s no contact with drinking water.
Susquehanna Steam Electric Station (Berwick)
The NRC issued a report on May 12, 2010, covering a three-month inspection ending on March 31, 2010. The NRC said no findings of significance were identified; however, a licensee-identified violation was determined to be of very low safety significance.
That violation determined that an individual had falsified entries in a weld rod oven temperature log. It was determined that the weld rod oven temperatures logs were deliberately falsified for four dates from Jan. 29, 2008 through Feb. 1, 2008.
The NRC said it considered issuing a notification of violation on this issue. However, it noted that even though the violation was willful, a non-cited violation was appropriate in this case because plant owner PPL identified the violation, the violation involved acts of a non-supervisory individual, the violation resulted from the isolated actions of a single individual without management involvement, and PPL took significant remedial action that the NRC does not detail in its report.
The report also discusses the previously discussed failure of two senior reactor operators to meet specific medical requirements for performing their duties. PPL submitted a written response on Dec. 10, 2009 describing its action to restore compliance and prevent recurrence. The NRC said it again reviewed PPL’s plan of action and determined that “PPL’s response and corrective actions were reasonable and appropriate” to address the notice of violation and it “does not require any additional information for these issues and considered these issues to be closed.” (Details of this issue are contained in prior reports from the NRC.)
On May 27, 2010, the NRC issued a letter regarding a staff review regarding allegations of discrimination made by a senior reactor operator during a refueling outage in March 2008. The allegations were made against an assistant operations manager.
In the letter, the NRC said, “After careful consideration of the available evidence in this case, and significant internal NRC deliberations, the NRC concluded that the action did not constitute discrimination.” However, the NRC added that the “circumstances in this act reflect poor performance that created negative perceptions which adversely affected the work environment at the facility.”
On Jan. 28, 2009, the NRC issued a potential chilling effect letter to PPL as a result of negative perceptions associated with this case and others.
The event occurred on March 26, 2008, during a refueling outage. Based on interviews with workers assigned to the control room and other places during the refueling outage, the NRC concluded that the assistant operations manager’s behavior that day was “not conducive to a healthy safety conscious work environment (SCWE) at Susquehanna, and could have given the perception that schedule pressure over safety was part of his motivation. The NRC considered this behavior to be an additional example of the decline in SCWE that the NRC had already been evaluating in 2008.”
Three Mile Island
On April 23, 2010, the NRC issued a report of an inspection on Unit 1 covering a three-month period ending March 31, 2010. It said no findings of significance were identified.
The NRC also issued a report in late May 2010 on Unit 2, which is in permanent shutdown after the accident on March 28, 1979. The safety inspections were conducted on Feb. 22, 2010 and April 20-22, 2010. It said, “No safety concerns or violations were identified.”
In the report on Unit 2, the NRC noted that the licensee “maintained an adequate audit program and effectively utilized the established correction action program to self-identify, evaluate and correct issues and problems.” It also said that the licensee “provided adequate controls to limit exposures of workers to external sources of radiation.”
On April 28, 2010, the NRC issued a report of an inspection covering a two-week period to evaluate changes, tests or experiments and permanent plant modifications. The inspection, completed March 19, 2010, dealt with activities relating to safety and compliance with the NRC’s rules and regulations and with conditions of the plant operator’s license. No findings of significance were identified, the NRC said.
The NRC issued a report on May 12, 2010, covering the three-month period ending March 31, 2010. The report said a self-revealed finding of very low safety significance was identified, and a licensee-identified violation was determined to be of very low safety significance.
The self-revealed matter involved the identification of 21 slow control rods during a Unit 2 scram time testing conducted from Jan. 30 to Jan. 31, 2010. Positioning of control rods helps change reactor power and can help shut down the reactor.
In the report, the NRC said there was planned power curtailment at Unit 2 on Jan. 29, 2010. A performance review of control rods was conducted, resulting in the identification of 21 slow rods, or 11 percent, of the 185 tested. The NRC said the 21 rods contained “1995-vintage SSPV diaphragms of the Viton-A material type.” The NRC said issues with these components had been found at other boiling water reactors plants, and they were to be regularly monitored. The NRC said Peach Bottom officials determined that the “performance monitoring and trending of the scram times was not being performed as required by Exelon (the licensee) procedure.”
The NRC noted that the 21 slow control rods were promptly repaired with a Viton-AB diaphragm made available in 1997 by the vendor as a warranty exchange for the Viton-A diaphragms. The NRC said the repaired control rods were re-tested satisfactorily and returned to service.
The licensee-identified violation involved preventive maintenance practices for the MSIV oil dashpot needle control valve. “There were no actual safety consequence associated with this event” discovered in September 2009, the NRC said..