Problem at nuclear reactor under scrutiny in Beaver County

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has sent a team of specialists to investigate a safety system problem at FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Co.’s Beaver Valley Unit 1 nuclear reactor in Shippingport, Beaver County.

The NRC team is reviewing a problem, first detected by the company on Sept. 23, in a system that supplies cooling water to the 889-megawatt reactor in the event of an accident. There was no immediate danger to public health and safety or the environment from this condition, according to the NRC.

The five-person inspection team, which is also reviewing the company’s response to the problem, is expected to be on-site at least through the end of the week. An inspection report detailing findings will be issued in 45 days.


North Anna nuclear reactor shut down

Dominion Virginia Power has shut down its North Anna 2 reactor in Louisa County because of what the utility described as a faulty transformer.

Unit 2 was taken offline Sept. 13 for what was called a routine refueling, and the reactor was being brought back up to full power this week — a process that takes several days — when the problem was discovered, Virginia Power spokesman Richard Zuercher said this morning.

“We’re going to have to replace that main transformer,” Zuercher said. “There are three, and one of them went bad.”

Unit 2 was operating at between 6 percent and 7 percent of capacity, well short of the 18-20 percent required to generate power, when the problem was discovered at 4:40 p.m. yesterday, Zuercher said.

Virginia Power, which has a spare transformer on site, should have the part replaced soon, said Zuercher, who declined to specify a targeted date to attempt to restart Unit 2.

“It will be soon,” he said.

North Anna’s other reactor, Unit 1, was operating at full power today.

The plant is about 45 miles northwest of Richmond.

Each of the two units at North Anna is refueled about every 18 months on an alternating schedule. Refueling typically takes between four and six weeks.

— Joe Macenka

Nuclear reactor taken off-line

Nuclear reactor taken off-line

Friday, October 17, 2008

LOWER ALLOWAYS CREEK TWP. – The Salem 1 nuclear reactor at Artificial Island here has been taken off-line for a scheduled refueling outage.

This will be the 19th refueling at Salem 1 since the reactor first began producing power in December 1976.

The reactor was shut down at 8 p.m. Tuesday, officials said.

During the outage nearly 1,450 PSEG Nuclear employees and supplemental personnel will complete more than 14,000 tasks.

In additional to removal and replacement of some of the reactor’s fuel assemblies, thousands of maintenance, inspection, and testing activities will be completed.

Salem 1 is one of three nuclear reactors operated at the Island by PSEG Nuclear.

Finnish ministry wants more information on planned nuclear reactor

Helsinki – Energy group Fortum has been asked to provide more information about the impact of cooling water from a planned nuclear reactor near the Finnish town of Loviisa, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy said Friday. Fortum’s environmental impact assessment report for a third nuclear reactor near Loviisa was generally in line with legislation, the ministry said after studying the report. Finland currently operates four reactors, of which two are located at Olkliuoto, south-western Finland and two near Loviisa, some 90 kilometres east of Helsinki. Fortum was considering a pressurized water reactor and a boiling water reactor for the site at Loviisa. Both Fortum and consortium Fennovoima have expressed interest in building an additional reactor near Loviisa. The ministry said it therefore wanted the environmental impact assessment to include the possible effects of cooling water from a fourth potential reactor, citing consortium Fennovoima’s interest. A fifth reactor is being built at Olkiluoto but the project has suffered delays. Earlier this week, environmental group Greenpeace called for a halt of work at Olkiluoto, citing concerns about welding work conducted at the site. In addition to Fennovoima and Fortum, power company Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) is also investigating the feasibility of building a sixth reactor. In a related development, Finance Minister Jyrkii Katainen on Thursday told Finnish broadcaster YLE that in his assessment, Finland needed two more reactors – bringing the total to seven – to secure the country’s future power needs. Katainen said he did not consider the storage of the radioactive waste to be a problem.,finnish-ministry-wants-more-information-on-planned-nuclear-reactor.html

Company, State at Odds Over Terms for Nuclear Reactor

Company, State at Odds Over Terms for Nuclear Reactor

A state agency says it needs more time to respond to objections over conditions for a third reactor at Calvert Cliffs.

A state agency says it needs more time to respond to objections over conditions for a third reactor at Calvert Cliffs. (By Mark Gail — The Washington Post)

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 14, 2008; Page SM03

UniStar Nuclear Energy and state officials are in a dispute about new conditions the state wants to impose for building a third reactor at the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant.

The state’s Power Plant Research Program filed testimony Monday saying that it needs more time to

respond to objections by UniStar, the company that would operate the new reactor, to conditions that the state recently added for awarding a certificate of public convenience and necessity.

The certificate is required to build the proposed nuclear reactor, which could nearly double the Lusby plant’s energy-generating capacity. The research program works with state agencies to conduct technical reviews of power plant licenses.

UniStar has “filed a massive amount of material. We’ve tried circulating” it to all of the state’s Cabinet secretaries, said M. Brent Hare, an assistant state attorney general representing the research program, at evidentiary hearings held this week in Southern Maryland by the Maryland Public Service Commission.

UniStar is requesting changes in the state’s newest conditions dealing with water permits, traffic mitigation, design and environmental standards, and ecological concerns. The research program conducted a six-week analysis before submitting the updated conditions last month.

George Vanderheyden, president and chief executive of UniStar, said the company is frequently receiving new information about the design of the reactor and other issues, which then must be submitted to state and federal agencies.


“They, nor we, have time to adopt and adjust to all of that,” Vanderheyden said at a public hearing Monday. “This is the first large baseload power plant . . . that has been built in Maryland for 30 years,” he said. The standard for smaller power plants “doesn’t work for something that takes six years of licensing.”

UniStar is asking the state to delete a condition designed to minimize harm to the American oyster. Paul C. Myers, a consulting ecologist, said that during the 1968 construction of the reactors at Calvert Cliffs, Baltimore Gas and Electric was given permission to move a large portion of the Flag Pond Oyster Bar in the Chesapeake Bay to another oyster bar and pay $200,000 in mitigation costs.

“The mitigated portion of the [Flag Pond] Oyster Bar was slated for closure and removal from the state resource maps,” said Myers, adding that a recent study showed a low oyster population for the area.

However, state officials said the Maryland General Assembly passed a law in the 1980s that formally identified and mapped the Flag Pond Oyster Bar. In its latest set of conditions, the state wants UniStar to dredge to minimize harm to the oysters in that area or apply to the Department of Natural Resources for a waiver.

Hare said the state objects to some of UniStar’s proposed changes to the new conditions. The two parties plan to meet to try to reach a compromise, which would be filed with the Public Service Commission.

Work Begins to Prepare N Reactor for Cocooning

Work Begins to Prepare N Reactor for Cocooning

Updated: var wn_last_ed_date = getLEDate(“Oct 18, 2007 2:26 PM EST”); document.write(wn_last_ed_date);Oct 18, 2007 12:26 PM

RICHLAND, Wash.- Demolition work begins to prepare Hanford’s historic N Reactor for cocooning.

Aside from the radioactivity contained in the reactor, most of the steam pipes are insulated with asbestos, there’s still lead in some places and they have to make sure all of that’s out before they can start demolition.

Washington Closure Hanford has issued an $8.8 million contract to remove hazardous materials from the buildings asbestos, lead and hazardous oils, it’s all got to come out before the historic reactor can be cocooned.

“That’s just to make it safe to go in and, and proceed with the next portion of the work, which is the demolition of the 105 and 109-N buildings,” said Dennis Reese with Washington Closure Hanford.

The reactor’s been shut down since 1986.

It was the world’s first “dual-purpose” reactor.

Like Hanford’s other facilities, it made plutonium for the nation’s weapons program, but it also produced electricity.

That makes it bigger than Hanford’s other reactors, but demolition experts say it’ll probably be easier to enclose.

“The N Reactor facility is different than the single-pass reactors, those are, they had a lot of what I call gingerbread or other structures that came off the reactor building.  This one will be easier to put a roof on because we’re going to have a very low slope roof and pretty much just a single flat,” said Daryl Schilperoort with WCH.

After the materials are out, they’ll tear down all but the core, a process called cocooning.

Then it’ll sit for 75 years as the radioactivity slowly decays.

“We want to have all of the hazardous materials removed out of the building before we start tearing the building down, it just makes that process much more safe,” Schilperoort said.

Four of Hanford’s nine reactors have already been cocooned.

The Tri-Party Agreement requires that the N Reactor be done by 2012.

Washington Closure Hanford says it’ll be done by 2011, maybe even 2010.