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


Reactor is closed

Reactor is closed

21/10/2008 5:25:00 PM
THE OPAL research reactor at ANSTO’s Lucas Heights centre shut down on Tuesday.The reactor will be closed for a fortnight for a regular fuel change and to replace heavy water in its reflector vessel.

An ANSTO spokeswoman said the reactor should be back to full operation on or about Monday, November 3.

“Following return to full operation, the first stage in restarting production of Technetium-99, which is the most-used product, can begin,” the spokewoman said.

“This is a major step towards recommencing full nuclear medicine production and irradiation of silicon for the semi-conductor industry.

“Technetium-99 is being imported, which is costly and subject to periodic interruptions of supply.”

OPAL has had a chequered history since the discovery in 2006 of a water seepage that was slowly diluting the heavy water that surrounds the reactor.

In June last year, the discovery of a design fault involving the reactor’s fuel plates forced a 10-month shutdown.

The ANSTO spokeswoman said ANSTO and Argentine designers INVAP were investigating ways of permanently fixing the seepage points.

“All rectification of defects is the responsibility of the reactor designers INVAP,” the spokeswoman said.

“Once repairs are complete and OPAL is operating to ANSTO’s satisfaction, negotiations will be finalised regarding costs.

“The heavy water, which is located in the reflector vessel, is being replaced, because over the past two years normal water from the surrounding reactor pool has slowly seeped in and diluted it.

“Heavy water reflects neutrons back into the reactor core to sustain the nuclear reaction.

“Although this is not a safety issue and does not prevent operation of the reactor, the dilution reduces neutron intensity, which in turn can affect the ability to irradiate targets for radiopharmaceutical production and silicon irradiation.”

Indispensable or Not, Age Issues May Shut Down U.S. Nuclear Power Plants

Electricity Expert Dan Scotto: Indispensable or Not, Age Issues May Shut Down U.S. Nuclear Power Plants (Pt. 3 of 4)

Click here to view the 8-minute interview

Posted: August 1, 2008

The U.S. couldn’t function without its 100+ operating nuclear power plants, but age issues could force many of them to reduce output or shut down completely over the next several years, warns electric utility expert Dan Scotto in Part 3 of his four-part exclusive video news report with

Scotto warned during the interview that because most of these plants are nearing or at the end of their 30-year economic lives, they are experiencing greater embrittlement, spent fuel and other operating problems that no one in Washington wants to talk about because of the economic devastation that could occur should 10 or more plants be forced to shut down, which Scotto fears could happen before any new nuclear power plants have been built.


Scotto further fears that if plants were forced to shut down, financial support on Wall Street for a new generation of nuclear power plants would be severely undercut, leaving the U.S. in even greater danger of a devastating shortfall in electrical power to meet the nation’s rapidly rising demand for electricity.

Washington’s current policy is “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” Scotto said during the interview. Eventually, he added, Washington will be forced to do something, though whether it will be too late is an open question.

At present, nuclear power accounts for nearly 20% of the U.S.’s total electrical generation capacity, second only to coal, which accounts for roughly 50%.

Click here to view the 8-minute interview

To read and view parts one and two of this exclusive video news report, see:

Northeast At Greatest Risk Of Massive Blackout (Part 1 of 4)

U.S. Power Rates to Double Over Next 5 Years Due Primarily To Lack of Supply (Part 2 of 4)