Frank Mand, OCM Source →
Is this a sign of an aging plant past its prime?
The second “event” at Pilgrim in as many weeks – the failure of a “scram discharge valve” – is also the second time this particular valve has failed in the last two months.
The scram discharge volume valve – referred to in the event releases as CV-302-22B – failed Feb. 18, a week after the blizzard knocked out power to the plant. (In another case of twos, Pilgrim also lost power twice during the storm.). The valve failed again last Friday, March 1.
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the CV-302-22B is one of the valves on the drain line from the scram discharge volume, a metal tank that is supposed to contain all of the water vented during a scram (a sudden, rapid, shut down of the reactor).
“When a scram signal occurs,” the UCS reported, “this valve automatically closes, or is designed to do so. Whether it does so is another matter.”
For critics of the plant, including EcoLaw.org Founder Meg Sheehan, this is a sure sign that the plant is past its prime.
“Pilgrim is old and worn out,” Sheehan wrote on her blog this week. “It presents an unacceptable risk to our region, and this is just one more example of that.”
A 1975 report on reactor safety, widely known as the Rassmussen Report, argues against that conclusion.
That report specifically stated that the valves in question have only a “one in a million” chance of interfering with a reactor shut down.
But the UCS said the Brown’s Ferry Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama must have hit the lottery, because in 1980 a plugged scram discharge valve prevented plant operators from successfully removing all of its control rods, three times, before the reactor staff was able to complete a planned shut down of their reactor.
That event at Brown’s Ferry did not occur during an emergency, however, and the 15 minutes it took to withdraw all of the reactor’s control rods did not, therefore, result in a disaster.
This week’s failure of Pilgrim’s scram valve, the official event notice released by Pilgrim concluded, “has no impact on the health and safety of the public.”
Plant staff had actually been monitoring the valve since it first failed in mid-February.
“A similar event report was generated for the same valve on Feb. 18, 2013,” the event-notification report states. “Compensatory measures applicable to the original event report included a revised lubrication application and additional surveillance testing.”
In other words, Pilgrim has been testing this valve since it first failed.
According to the NRC, the valve was lubricated, retested and restored to operability soon after the issue was discovered.
But tests conducted March 1, Pilgrim stated, “did not meet opening stroke time operability requirements for the valve.”
According to the NRC, during the power outages that shut down the plant twice during the February blizzard, the valve worked properly to support the scram.
“That is, it closed within the timeframe necessary to support the scram,” NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan told the Old Colony.
“The problem resulting in the report on Feb. 18 was discovered,” Neil added, “during routine surveillance testing conducted on these valves in the ‘open’ direction and was unrelated to any of the shutdowns.”
The NRC spokesman acknowledged that this valve plays an important role in supporting the scram function.
“That said, nuclear power plants have numerous systems and components that are important to safety,” Neil said. “The ‘defense-in-depth’ approach for nuclear power plants is based on multiple layers of safety through redundant systems and equipment.”
Neil wouldn’t comment directly on the assertion that the problems with this valve were related to the plants overall age.
“The company (Entergy) is continuing to evaluate the exact cause of the slowness of the valve to operate in the open direction,” Neil concluded. “Our inspectors will review the results of that review.”
For the second time in two weeks, Entergy’s Pilgrim nuclear reactor experienced an “event” requiring notification to the NRC. The scram discharge volume valve (valve CV-302-22B) failed on March 1, 2013 and February 18, 2013. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “The scram discharge volume is a large metal tank that collects the water vented from the control rod’s hydraulic pistons during a scram. It is sized to contain all the water vented during a scram. CV-302-22B is one of the valves on the drain line from the scram discharge volume. When a scram signal occurs, this valve automatically closes (or is designed to do so, whether it does so is another matter).”
The NRC requires Entergy to make sure this valve is operating as designed because it is a mechanical system that is critical to Pilgrim’s safe operation. The valve is part of the reactor shutdown system, and must be able to operate during a “scram”. A scram means for some reason Entergy has to stop the nuclear reaction (the fission that splits the atoms) from happening.
During the February, 2013 blizzard (Nemo) Pilgrim had to shut down twice – that is, Entergy had to stop splitting the atoms. What if the valve had failed then-instead of a mere 9 days later, on Feb. 18?
Pilgrim exceeds industry averages for automatic shutdowns and unplanned power outages. http://www.capecodonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130227/NEWS/302270347
The U.S. NRC says that the valves (called “scram discharge volume piping”) have only a one in a million chances of interfering with reactor shut down. But, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, in June, 1980, that is exactly what happened at the Brown’s Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama: that one in a million chance happened and almost caused a nuclear disaster. http://allthingsnuclear.org/fission-stories-107-mystery-plug
If Entergy’s valve had failed to operate during one of Pilgrim’s many shutdowns during the last year, there could have been a serious nuclear emergency.
Pilgrim is old and worn out. It presents an unacceptable risk to our region-and this is just one more example of that.
Entergy seeks zoning permit for dry cask storage project
Frank Mand, Wicked Local Plymouth Source →
“Once again, the total lack of transparency and oversight by the NRC and other regulators responsible for the safe and proper operation of Pilgrim is alarming,” she said. “All we want is straight answers and public accountability. It’s not a lot to ask, given what is at stake.”
Here is a simple thing you can do to help prevent harm from outdated nuclear power plants.
The NRC Commissioners are in the thick of a debate about whether or not to install filters on US nuclear reactors to prevent radiation leaks in case of a disaster. They are planning to vote soon on this topic. Industry is pressuring them not to require filters because it will cost them money, but we citizens deserve this safety precaution! The risk is too high and, at the very least, we can at learn a lesson from Fukushima. Word is there are two commissioners who are swing votes and we need to convince them to vote for filters! Here are their email addresses. Below is an example letter for you to use to create a letter of your own.
“Just do it!”
— Anna Baker
Commissioner Ostendorff: CMROSTENDORFF@nrc.gov
Commissioner Magwood: CMRMAGWOOD@nrc.gov
I understand that the NRC Commissioners are scheduled to vote soon on whether to follow your staff’s recommendation to order filters on vents in Mark 1 and Mark II reactors. I am writing to urge you to vote in favor of these vents. As a mother of two young children who lives near the Pilgrim reactor I would like to know that, in a severe accident, radiation will not be released directly from the reactor core into our neighborhoods. Considering the potential consequences, filters should be a no-brainer.
It’s no surprise and it’s not over yet!
On February 26, 2013, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office lost a bid to force the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to consider new information about the risks to the public safety and the environment from Entergy’s Pilgrim nuclear reactor. View the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals decision here
The Attorney General tried to argue that Fukushima nuclear disaster revealed new information about high level nuclear waste spent fuel pool fires and core damage events that should be considered before Pilgrim was allowed to be relicensed for another 20 years. These “events” would release large amounts of radioactive material throughout the region, with unimaginable consequences.
The Court ruled in favor of Entergy and the NRC, and would not let the AG proceed with the challenge. No surprise there! Winning a court case against the NRC and the nuclear industry is extremely difficult. This is because the law that created the NRC, called the Atomic Energy Act, gives the NRC expansive powers to make the rules about who can challenge their decisions. As the Court said, the Atomic Energy Act is “a regulatory scheme which is virtually unique in the degree to which broad responsibility is reposed in the administering agency [the NRC]….” The Act is pro-industry, and the NRC, in making more rules (called regulations) on who can challenge its decisions, has taken that mission to heart: protect the industry, shut out public interest advocates.
In the February 26 decision, the Court said the AG did not meet the standards of the NRC procedural laws for getting a hearing on the safety issues. The Court also said the AG could not challenge the Pilgrim relicensing under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires the NRC to take a “hard look” at environmental impacts.
The Court’s decision by no means says Pilgrim is “safe.” In fact, the Court said the NRC still has to make Entergy fix numerous defects at Pilgrim, even though Pilgrim has been relicensed until 2032. There are three types of defects at Pilgrim the NRC is thinking of making Entergy fix as a result of Fukushima: lack of filtered vents for emergencies, inadequate ways to figure out the water level in the spent fuel pool, and inadequate core cooling containment. As we speak, industry is lobbying the NRC to say no fixes, claiming they are too expensive and unwarranted. Today, the New York Times wrote about this: Post-Fukushima, Arguments for Nuclear Safety Bog Down
The NRC isn’t the only one who gets to say how Pilgrim operates, however. State and local officials have a say, too. Entergy must meet state and local environmental and zoning laws. Admittedly, state and local authority over Pilgrim is limited, but it does exist. Unfortunately, Massachusetts state regulators are taking a hands off approve on Entergy’s water pollution. Other officials are looking the other way while Entergy is building a $165 million nuclear waste storage facility without proper permits. Vermont and New York officials have been much more active in trying to protect the public from Entergy’s nuclear reactors in those states.
Politicians at the state and federal level are discussing new laws to address the nuclear waste and other issues. Today, The Hill reported that Ohio Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden expects a draft nuclear waste bill shortly. Sen. Wyden is quote as saying, “I call the nuclear waste issue one of those issues that feels like the longest running battle since the Trojan War, and I think it’s time to get on with it.” Massachusetts state legislators have also announced legislation to deal with Pilgrim. Let’s hope these legislators can “get on with it.”
Meanwhile, back in Manomet, Entergy is going to being refueling Pilgrim in March or April. This means Entergy is going to bring in more nuclear fuel rods so that it can continue to run — and make even more nuclear waste.
Concerned residents across the region are telling federal, state, and local officials that enough is enough… and its time to act.
Part of a 50-day walk from Leverett, MA to Washington, D.C.
Details: New England Peace Pagoda
CAPE COD: Saturday, Feb 23, 2013
10:00am — Walkers gather at Bourne Bridge
6:00pm — Community Potluck at West Falmouth Friends Meetinghouse (Quakers), 572 West Falmouth Hwy (Rte 28A)
Contacts for Potluck: Ami Scheltema (508) 548-8543 / Liz Rogers (347) 860-1307
Contact for Walk: Tim Bullock (413) 485-8469, email@example.com
PLYMOUTH: Sunday, Feb 24, 2013
2:00pm — Walkers gather at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to chant and drum, sending a “change of spirit” toward the plant. An 8-mile walk to the First Parish Church in downtown Plymouth (19 Town Square, Plymouth, MA) will start around 2:30pm.
5:30–8:00pm — Potluck and Program at First Parish Church, Plymouth. Charmaine White Face, an Ogalala Sioux (founder and coordinator of Defenders of the Black Hills) will speak about the impact of uranium mining on native lands, “America’s Chernobyl,” and a nuclear-free future.
Organizers are concerned about the forecast for bad weather, and have stated that in case of poor conditions the walk will be cancelled, but the events at the First Parish Church will go on. Those who do walk are expected use their own judgement about safety if the weather is inclement.
Local residents are invited to attend all events. There is no parking on Rocky Hill Road, and those who wish to walk are advised to park at “Bert’s” or The Lobster Pound and arrange to be shuttled to the origin of the walk.
Additional concerns focus on the lack of oversight by local and federal authorities and possible improper use of public funds
PLYMOUTH, MA – Local citizen advocacy organizations Pilgrim Coalition, Pilgrim Watch and EcoLaw announced today that they have called upon the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to immediately enforce its own regulations regarding the construction of a nuclear waste storage facility at Entergy Corporation’s Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant.
“Entergy is currently building a retaining wall, a road and moving sewage lines for this nuclear waste storage facility without adhering to NRC regulations,” said Meg Sheehan of EcoLaw. “It is outrageous that Entergy is continuing this construction without the appropriate state, federal and local oversight or permits.”
In December, after aerial photographs secured by the citizen groups exposed this project already under construction, it was determined by the Plymouth Town officials that Entergy did not have the proper notifications or zoning permits in place required to build this projected $120 million project. The town has since permitted only building the roadway. The groups are challenging Entergy’s attempt to get the project permitted on piecemeal basis. They say this is grossly inadequate, especially considering this construction site is in a coastal flood zone and also subject to local wetland laws. “Entergy is building a nuclear waste storage facility in a coastal flood zone without any of the proper approvals,” Sheehan said. “Storm and flooding damage are critical construction and permitting issues to this particular site and it appears these issues are being ignored by the authorities that are supposed to be protecting the safety and health of the public and the environment.”
Earlier this month, Pilgrim had an emergency shutdown during the historic winter storm Nemo due to loss of offsite power.
The groups have sent a letter to the NRC insisting that it administer and enforce its own laws regarding this nuclear waste construction site. In a separate letter, the public interest advocacy group EcoLaw has also asked the Town of Plymouth to require Entergy to obtain a special zoning permit as well as conservation commission approval.
A second letter was also issued to the NRC from the Pilgrim Coalition and EcoLaw seeking an accounting of the public funds Entergy is using to build this facility. “Entergy may be improperly tapping into a public decommissioning fund for these construction activities,” Sheehan said. “These funds are intended for the closure and decommissioning of nuclear plants not to promote the production and storage of nuclear waste from an active plant.”
ENENews / Shannon Dininny and Mike Baker, Associated Press Article source →
“You couldn’t find a more perfect radioactive storm … I am alarmed about this on many levels. This raises concerns, not only about the existing leak … but also concerning the integrity of the other single shell tanks of this age.”Gov. Jay Inslee
The long-delayed cleanup of the nation’s most contaminated nuclear site became the subject of more bad news Friday, when Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that a radioactive waste tank there is leaking.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Energy said liquid levels are decreasing in one of 177 underground tanks at the site.
[...] Inslee said the tank is the first to have been documented to be losing liquids since all Hanford tanks were stabilized in 2005. His staff said the federal government is working to assess other tanks. [...]
“We’re out of time, obviously. These tanks are starting to fail now,” said Tom Carpenter of the Hanford watchdog group Hanford Challenge. “We’ve got a problem. This is big.” [...]
Robert Knox, Globe Correspondent Source →
Eleven anti-nuclear protesters will defend themselves against charges of trespassing at the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in a trial next month expected to feature a roster of nuclear experts and political thinkers, including Pulitzer Prize-winning author Christopher Hedges and renowned physician and scholar Dr. Helen Caldicott.
Judge Kathryn Hand set a trial date of March 18 in Plymouth District Court at last Wednesday’s pretrial hearing at which the defense strategy was disclosed.
The defendants are among 14 protesters arrested at a demonstration at the Plymouth plant last May. According to the defendants, they were with a group of 60 protesters picketing at Pilgrim to show their opposition to the renewal of the plant’s license in view of its age and similarities to the nuclear reactors that failed in Japan.
Pilgrim’s operating license was renewed by federal regulators last year for 20 years.
When the 14 protesters left an area where picketing was permitted to attempt to deliver a letter to Pilgrim officials, they were warned they would be arrested if they didn’t leave. The protesters did not leave the restricted area and were charged with criminal trespass, a charge that carries a potential penalty of a $100 fine and 30 days’ imprisonment.
According to defendant Diane Turco of Cape Downwinders, the letter to Entergy raised “the clear and present dangers at its 40-year-old Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. The Pilgrim reactor is the same make and model as those which failed at Fukushima.”
In addition to the Cape Downwinders, the demonstration was sponsored by the South Shore-based Pilgrim Coalition, Duxbury-based Pilgrim Watch, and Cape Cod Bay Watch.
Three of the original defendants, including Duxbury resident Pat Garrity, have since pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and were fined $50.
Entergy officials declined to comment Wednesday on the trespass case.
“Our policy is we do not comment on matters that are pending before the court,” spokeswoman Carol Wightman said, adding, “Pilgrim station takes its security responsibility very seriously.”
Both Entergy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff have pointed to the high marks given to Pilgrim on annual safety inspections. In response to the Fukushima comparison, Entergy officials said Pilgrim has backup on-site generators and batteries in the event of the extended power loss that doomed Japan’s reactors.
Aside from setting a trial date, Wednesday’s pretrial hearing included a preliminary discussion of defense assertions and possible witnesses.
Turco said the protesters are seeking to offer a “necessity defense” to the charge against them, arguing that the seriousness of the danger the plant presents to public safety compelled them to take the actions they did. In support of this assertion, the defense intends to call such figures as Hedges, Caldicott, and nuclear expert Gordon Thompson.
A journalist whose coverage of global terrorism for The New York Times received a Pulitzer, Hedges will defend the need for “citizen activism for the greater good,” the defendants said in a statement. His book, “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning,” was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle nonfiction award.
Caldicott became prominent after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in Pennsylvania when she left her medical career to call attention to the dangers of nuclear arms and nuclear power. She will testify to “the health dangers of [the Pilgrim] nuclear facility,” the defendants said.
Thompson, a longtime critic of the danger storing spent nuclear fuel within a plant presents as a target for terrorism and an accident risk, helped Attorney General Martha Coakley prepare the state’s argument in a lawsuit against the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s decision to renew Pilgrim’s license.
Filed last April, the state’s suit argued that the NRC should have completed a study of “the lessons learned” from the accident at the Fukushima plants and their relevance for the Pilgrim plant before relicensing.
In response, the NRC said it “has already considered and rejected the notion that our Fukushima lessons-learned review needs to be completed prior to a decision on any pending license renewal application.”
Nuclear safety advocate Lee Roscoe, a member of Cape Downwinders, said the trial of the nuclear protesters will accelerate growing public concern over reactor safety. She said a new resolution calling for Pilgrim’s closure won backing from Brewster officials after a similar resolution ran into opposition and “squeaked through” Town Meeting last year.
The resolution “calls for the town to ask the government to shut it down because we can’t be assured of our safety in event of an emergency,” Roscoe said. Similar resolutions were passed by town meetings in Marshfield and other communities south of Boston last spring.
The defendants said the prosecution disputed their right to call on the necessity defense at the pretrial hearing. The judge then required both the prosecution and the defense to submit written arguments and supporting papers to her by Feb. 25. If the judge decides that another pretrial hearing will be needed before she rules on the necessity defense, it would take place on March 13.
Robert Knox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ENENews / Russia Today News Source →
Transcript at 3:30 in:
Host: What else do they say regarding mobile phone communications and radiation levels at the moment? [...]
Reporter: This is the zinc plant I was talking about. You will see in just a second that there’s a humungous hole in the middle of that building.
This is another thing we should keep in mind is that Chelyabinsk has been a closed region for a very long time. During the soviet era, it was essentially the center of the nuclear research. Top secret facilities are all over the place there. There is one nuclear storage facility called Mayak*.
A lot of people are saying this is really in the best graces that none of the asteroids, and there were at least 5 fragments of the asteroid, that it’s really fortunate that none of the asteroid had landed into that facility. Because that obviously, we would be talking about nuclear disaster there.
Again the minister of emergencies is saying all nuclear facilities in the region are working top notch, nothing out of the extraordinary happening there.
*Wikipedia: The Kyshtym disaster was a radiation contamination incident that occurred on 29 September 1957 at Mayak [Chelyabinsk-40], a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the Soviet Union. It measured as a Level 6 disaster on the International Nuclear Event Scale, making it the third most serious nuclear accident ever recorded (after the Chernobyl disaster, and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, both Level 7 on the INES).
AFP: The Chelyabinsk region is Russia’s industrial heartland, filled with smoke-chugging factories and other huge facilities that include a nuclear power plant and the massive Mayak atomic waste storage and treatment centre.[...] “All Rosatom enterprises located in the Urals region — including the Mayak complex — are working as normal,” an unnamed Rosatom spokesman told Interfax.
Update from RT: “Officials did do preliminary testing of radiation levels in the area. They say that that is ok. But of course tests are going to continue throughout the day. [...] Radiation levels are ok at the moment but of course we’ll have to bring you up to date as the developments come in.”
PC News Update: February 15, 2013 → Blizzard Nemo Knocks Out Pilgrim; NRC Ignores Activists’ Request to Close It Down Before Storm / Lawmakers Act to Protect Region by Filing Bills / Cape Downwinders Initiates Local Ballot Initiative / Follow Our Members’ Blogs and Social Media / Trial Date Set for Pilgrim 14 / Big Turnout for Feb. 6 Plug-In Event
The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station on Cape Cod Bay is directly in the path of the historic winter storm due to hit Plymouth, Mass. starting Friday. According to information from the National Weather Service, there could bewidespread prolonged power outages, coastal flooding and erosion, and hurricane force winds.
Local groups have asked the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to order Entergy Corporation, Pilgrim’s operator, to take the reactor offline during the storm to prevent an unacceptable risk to the public and the environment. This storm differs from Hurricane Sandy because it is hitting Plymouth during high tide, not low tide, and will be accompanied by heavy snow and ice.
The groups say that a prolonged power outage, flooding, high winds, and snow and ice could cause several serious problems at Pilgrim. First, the pumps that circulate water through the pool of high-‐level nuclear waste could fail. If this happens, the water in the spent fuel pool would eventually evaporate, exposing the spent fuel to air. Second, Pilgrim’s cooling water intake pumps, which take in over 500 million gallons of water per day from Cape Cod Bay to cool the reactor, could flood or fail. Under either scenario, there could be an explosion that would release radioactive material throughout the region.
“This is predicted to be a historic storm with severe consequences,” said Pine DuBois, Executive Director of Jones River Watershed Association. “Winds are supposed to pick up Friday night during high tide and continue through the even higher tide Saturday morning. Near hurricane gusts will be out of the east, hitting Pilgrim head-‐on. At other times during high winds, Pilgrim’s water intake pumps have failed.”
“Entergy could not keep the lights on during the Super Bowl -‐ can we be sure they’ll provide enough power to Pilgrim during the storm?” duBois added.
According to Karen Vale, Campaign Manager at Cape Cod Bay Watch, “This historic storm emphasizes that rising sea levels and frequent, more severe storms make Pilgrim’s continued operations increasing risky. We hope that the NRC will close Pilgrim until the threat of the storm passes.”
NIRS More info →
The Department of Energy (DOE) is considering a plan to allow radioactively-contaminated metal from nuclear weapons facilities to be “recycled.” This would allow this toxic metal to be mixed with clean recycled metal and enter into normal commerce—where it could be turned into anything from your next pants zipper to baby toys. Act now to stop this outrage! Deadline is February 11, 2013.
Representative James Cantwell
An Act increasing nuclear power plant protections to a twenty mile radius. PDF
Amend Section 5K(E) of Chapter 111 to assess power companies $400,000 per reactor (Pilgrim, VY & Seabrook) to fund DPH radiation control program. PDF
Representative Sarah Peake & Ann-Margaret Ferrante
An Act increasing nuclear power plant protections to a twenty mile radius. PDF
MEMA to assess the present preparedness in Barnstable and Essex Counties and to determine the need for, and appropriateness of, any additional specific steps for a radiological accident at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station and Seabrook Nuclear Power Plant. PDF
Senator Dan Wolf
Increase Protections to 20 Miles (and including cities and towns located in Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket counties, as well as in the area known as Cape Ann in Essex county. PDF
Frank Mand, Wicked Local Plymouth Source →
Ten days ago it was a pump problem. Then, a few days later duck hunters came a bit too close for comfort. And Monday a valve leak set off alarms at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station. But, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it does not, as of now, “see any commonalities between these events as two involved different valves and one was caused by personnel error.”
From a layman’s point of view, these three events – and another shutdown in May – could appear to form a troubling pattern. The plant, after all, is more than 40 years old.
Could these events be related to the age of the plant and, if so, should residents be concerned that multiple events might occur at the same time, making a simple leak or electrical problem a potential catastrophe?
Excluding the incursion by duck hunters, there have been three unplanned shutdowns at Pilgrim in just more than six months:
- Last May: Reactor scram from degrading condenser vacuum due to a valve failure
- Jan. 10: Reactor scram due to trip of both reactor recirculation pumps due to personnel error during testing.
- Jan. 20: Reactor shutdown due to a leaking safety relief valve (These safety release valves are a new design and have been installed since the last outage in 2011.)
Nevertheless, the NRC says no, there is no connection.
“We are constantly on the lookout for any problems or issues that could impact more than one area of plant performance,” NRS spokesman Neil Sheehan said this week.
“We would describe these as cross-cutting issues,” Sheehan added. “One example would be any training program weaknesses that could contribute to plant shutdowns or other events. If we saw evidence of such problems, we would not hesitate to require the company to take action in response, and we would follow up through inspections to ensure that occurred.”
But what about the age of the plant; is that a concern?
“Entergy must investigate and evaluate each equipment failure to determine if additional preventive maintenance measures may be necessary for a given component or system,” Sheehan said.
Sheehan said the reactor scram was due to personnel error during testing and not an equipment failure, and the safety relief valves had undergone work in the not-too-distant past.
The NRC does compile with what it calls “performance indicators,” Sheehan explained. These are the records of unplanned nuclear power plant changes and shutdowns.
“If the number of power changes and/or shutdowns crosses a predetermined threshold, for example, if more than three unplanned scrams occur more than the previous 7,000 hours – about 10 months – of critical operation,” he said, “that performance indicator would cross from ‘green’ to ‘white.’ ”
If that happened at Pilgrim, according to Sheehan, Entergy would have to perform a root cause evaluation and the NRC would evaluate the cause and the corrective actions Entergy took in a supplemental inspection.
“Pilgrim is currently ‘green’ in all performance indicator categories,” Sheehan said, “including unplanned shutdowns.”
But if another scram occurs in the next month or so, it would be time for a root cause evaluation.
Follow Frank Mand on Twitter at @frankmandOCM
Huffington Post Source →
Two years after the disaster at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant in Japan — called the “worst accidental release of radiation to the ocean in history” — a fish with staggering levels of radiation has reportedly been found in the vicinity of the plant.
According to French newspaper Le Monde, the fish was caught last Friday. It reportedly contained more than 2,500 times the legal limit for radiation in seafood.
The AFP writes:
[Plant operator] Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said caesium equivalent to 254,000 becquerels per kilogramme — or 2,540 times more than the government seafood limit — was detected in a “murasoi” fish.
The fish, similar to rockfish, was caught at a port inside the Fukushima plant, a TEPCO spokesman said.
The find is a stark reminder that fears of radiation continue to haunt the island nation years after the nuclear catastrophe rocked Japan’s waters.
PC News Update: January 19, 2013 → Feb. 6 Plug-In Workshop / Pilgrim Coalition Seeks Answers About Entergy’s Construction of Long-Term Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Video) / NUKE MATTERS: Radioactive Waste Storage at Pilgrim: Why it is a Concern / Recent News Coverage / MEMA: No Escape for Cape Cod Citizens