Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Feds: “Atmospheric Steam Dump” at New Jersey Nuclear Plant — All 6 circulators lost at Salem due to debris UPDATE: Alert Ended 31.10.2012

Well this looks familiar.

March 11, 2011?

For information purposes only.
Stay Informed.

UPDATE: Alert Ended at Plant according to company officials.  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/31/storm-sandy-exelon-oystercreek-idUSL1E8LV2IL20121031

Feds: “Atmospheric steam dump” at New Jersey nuclear plant — All 6 circulators lost at Salem due to debris, high river level

Published: October 30th, 2012 at 8:07 pm ET
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Salem Nuclear Power Plant From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Title: Current Event Notification Report for October 30, 2012
Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
h/t Indiana Harry, jdotg

Notification Time: 10/30/2012 at 4:10 [ET]
Event Time: 10/30/2012 at 1:09 [EDT]
“Salem Unit 1 was operating at 100% reactor power when a loss of 4 condenser circulators required a manual reactor trip in accordance with station procedures. The cause of the 4 circulators being removed from service was due to a combination of high river level and detritus from Hurricane Sandy’s transit.
“All control rods inserted. A subsequent loss of the 2 remaining circulators required transition of decay heat removal from condenser steam dumps to the 11-14 MS10s (atmospheric steam dump). Decay heat removal is from the 11/12 Aux Feed Pumps to all 4 steam generators via the 11-14 MS10s. [...]
See also: Now 5 Nuke Plants with Problems from Sandy: New Jersey's Salem reactor shuts down as water pumps "not available" -- Trouble with both units at New York's 9 Mile Point -- Also Oyster Creek, Indian Point, Limerick

Published: October 30th, 2012 at 8:07 pm ET
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Satellite image on 16 March 2011 of the four damaged reactor buildings


25 comments to Feds: “Atmospheric steam dump” at New Jersey nuclear plant — All 6 circulators lost at Salem due to debris, high river level

  • “Atmospheric steam dump”
    Uncontrolled release of Tritium and maybe more…
  • How crazy to run any of the nuclear plants at any power level during this huge storm.
    Insane greedy nucleocrats. The plants need to be shuttered forever, but at the least they should have powered them all down five days ago.
  • Great as Sandy keeps spinning over us in PA. I will have to use my geiger counter in the morning.
  • Lets just hope they recover the circulation pumps. The steam dump sounds like a last resort for getting ride of the heat building in the reactors. Be nice to know what step in the oh shit list we are on when we perform this operation.
  • They just released tritium into the air, and the surrounding community will be exposed to it.
    They should be sued for negligence. They knew this major storm was coming and what kinds of risks it could pose to the plant, but they irresponsibly chose to operate at full power anyway.
  • What is it going to take for the worlds nuclear industries to realize that, if it is just about the bottom line, nuclear power isn't worth it.
    If it really was about safety, then things would be done differently.
    A statement from, Andre-Claude Lacoste, 70, the outgoing head of the French Autorite de Surete Nucleaire.
    Japan-Style Nuclear Safety Errors Abound, Regulator Warns
    Japan’s nuclear safety failures that led to last year’s disaster at Fukushima are being repeated in other countries that operate atomic reactors, according to France’s top regulator.

  • better late than never… i suppose
    USA -Nuclear Industry plans nuclear response centers by …………….2014
    29 October 2012
    The US nuclear industry is preparing for future emergencies byestablishing two regional centres that should operate from mid-2014. Vital equipment to maintain safety in an extreme event will be able to reach any of the USA’s nuclear plants within 24 hours.
    2 years to have it in place then
    Slight hitch, bad planning! USA- 39 percent of nuclear-industry workers will reach retirement by 2016
    5:59 PM, Oct 27, 2012
    then they wont have anyone to man the equipment.. hard to recruit to the nuclear industry for some reason obviously.. its the same the world over…
    decommission now! while people who know what they are doing are still alive.. imo
  • Look at these past radiation releases from Oyster Creek:
    ** "In April 1998, the NRC cited the owner of the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey for unmonitored releases of radioactively contaminated gas (NRC, 1998). Oyster Creek uses two
    isolation condensers to remove decay heat produced by the reactor core when the normal heat removal systems are unavailable. Oyster Creek’s Final Safety Analysis Report stated that the isolation condensers would be filled with clean, non-radioactive water. But for nearly 30 years, workers had been filling the condensers with radioactively contaminated water. As that water evaporated, it was vented directly to the atmosphere."
    ** "In December 1996, the NRC cited the owner of the Oyster Creek nuclear plant in New Jersey for the accidental release of 133,000 gallons of radioactively contaminated water into Barnegat Bay (NRC, 1996)."
    ** "August 2009: Workers discovered radioactively contaminated water leaking into the ground from where a condensate transfer pipe passed through the turbine building wall."

  •  October 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm
    Nuclear plants release radiated steam into the air (radiation) with no warning. Sometimes it's found out, but only after it already happened.

    • Now look at this:
      A brick house located just west of the canal on Carroll Street had steam rising from its foundation. A man who said he was a resident but wouldn't provide his name said the basement had filled with water from the canal in the night, and now the electrical wiring was steaming. He said the fire department told him it would not come unless the structure was physically on fire. I'll wait, and then it'll go up like a tinderbox, he said.
      The question is: Will the fire brigade wait till the nuke is on fire?

  • NYC Mayor just walked up to the gallows it sounds like.

  • It could be several things.
    You'll never really know, until it's too late, and that's the problem.
    Photo for EXAMPLE Only:
    (TMI night view)

  • RT just caught Prof Busby for a quick comment here.. video and transcript..
    Prof. Busby -Oyster Creek proximity to New York poses threat during flooding -(Video)
    You can never make nuclear power stations perfectly safe. You can’t make it impossible for these situations to occur and when they do occur, they can be pretty catastrophic, Professor Christopher Busby from the European Committee on Radiation Risks told RT. The Professor added Oyster Creek plant was a particular risk, located just 65 miles from New York City.
    All of the power stations in the area were built against the express wishes of the people who lived there. They were pushed through by some kind of federal axe which overcame the opposition of the people, he said.
    mentions a long shot possibility of meltdown too!
  • Oyster (like Fukushima Units 1-4) is the oldest BWR (40 years old) in the US. So, what happens? The NRC grants it a 20 year extension even though it is shut down at the moment and only the spent fuel pools are in play.
    Salem Units are PWR type (like San Onofre).
    At least with the PWR Salem units, the radioactive water is under very high pressure so it won't boil, no steam, and is suppose to travel in a short closed loop to transfer its heat in exchangers. Major leaks would occur in the heat exchangers when the piping cracks or wears thin like with San Onofre.
    After a PWR shuts down if they are blowing off excess steam from a heat exchanger loop that drives the turbines, then there should be very little radioactive releases while the reactor (loop) is cooling down. With no steam turbine being driven, you still use the steam loop to cool the pressurized water reactor loop via the heat exchangers. Unless there is something they are not telling us.
    Of course, some noble gases and tritium get released constantly (tritium is almost impossible to contained) so being on the east coast you would hope it blows or flows out to sea, normally. With flooding it might just hang around.
    Would it be to much to ask to at least shut down all the (25?) BWRs in the US, now?

  • Salem 1 & 2 are PWR's. Odds are, the steam is from the turbine circuit of the condenser, not the reactor circuit. The purpose would be to remove pressure from the condenser to allow emergency water injection at atmospheric pressure, since the intakes to the turbine feed pumps got clogged from storm debris (plant and mud from water being stirred up). Dumping water from the reactor circuit voluntarily during a shutdown in a PWR wouldn't make sense.

  • I looked into this the first few days after Fukumonster left for it's terror of trick-or-treat around the world. Here is what I posted on Fukushima Diary page.


    NRC: Alert still in effect at NJ nuclear plant — High water levels in Oyster Creek’s water intake structure remain

    Published: October 30th, 2012 at 11:55 pm ET
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    Date: Oct. 30, 2012 5 p.m.
    [...] Heightened coverage will continue at Oyster Creek, a plant in Lacey Township, N.J., still in an “Alert” due to high water levels in its water intake structure. [...]
    At Oyster Creek, the Alert – the second lowest of four levels of emergency classification used by the NRC – remains in effect as plant operators wait for the water intake levels to drop to pre-designated thresholds. The water level rose due to a combination of a rising tide, wind direction and storm surge. Oyster Creek was shut down for a refueling and maintenance outage prior to the storm and the reactor remains out of service. Water levels are beginning to subside to more normal levels, but the plant remains in an Alert status until there is enough confidence levels will remain at more normal levels. Offsite power at the plant is in the process of being restored. [...]
    Watch nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen discuss the alert at Oyster Creek here
    Published: October 30th, 2012 at 11:55 pm ET
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    1. Alert: Emergency Declared at NJ Nuclear Plant from Hurricane Sandy — Power lost, ocean water rising — Concern about cooling of reactor and spent fuel pool October 30, 2012
    2. Watch: Massive devastation seen near New Jersey’s Oyster Creek nuclear plant (VIDEOS) October 30, 2012
    3. Photo: Flooding already reported near Oyster Creek nuclear plant in NJ—Road closed on bay, dune lines breached October 29, 2012
    4. NBC: Water continues to rise in area near New Jersey nuclear plant under flood emergency (AUDIO) October 30, 2012
    5. Flood waters rise above threshold at NJ nuclear plant — May be forced to use fire system to cool fuel rods — FEMA: “No imminent threat of releases” — High tide happening now October 30, 2012

    Ruptured gas lines in areas near New Jersey’s Oyster Creek nuclear plant — ABC: Concern town could be set ablaze, reporter smells oil (VIDEO)

    Published: October 30th, 2012 at 9:30 pm ET
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    Title: Sandy Aftermath: Ruptured Gas Lines Worry Seaside Heights, New Jersey
    Source: ABC News
    Author: Lauren Effron
    Date: Oct. 30, 2012 at 8:03p ET
    Aside from widespread power outages and flooding that is reaching doorsteps, residents stranded in Seaside Heights, N.J., are worried about another danger: ruptured gas lines.
    Locals told “Nightline” anchor Terry Moran that they had been told there is a concern that the slightest spark could set the town ablaze.
    Moran, who canoed to the beach because the storm surge from Sandy was so high, said he could smell gas and oil coming from the standing flood waters [...]

    Seaside heights is 10 miles north of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant.

    NBC Philadelphia is reporting similar problems in Ship Bottom, 11 miles to the south of Oyster Creek:

    Flyover footage shows new area nearby giant sinkhole saturated with water (VIDEO)

    Published: October 4th, 2012 at 4:13 pm ET
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    Watch the flyover footage here

    Published: October 4th, 2012 at 4:13 pm ET
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    UPDATE: - Alert at NJ Oyster Creek reactor ends as water recedes - Reuters

    Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:03am EDT
    By Scott DiSavino

    Oct 31 (Reuters) - U.S. power company Exelon Corp said Wednesday it ended an alert at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey after high water from Hurricane Sandy returned to normal levels.

    Oyster Creek, the nation's oldest operating reactor, declared the rare "alert" Monday night after water levels at the plant rose more than 6.5 feet (2 meters) above normal, potentially affecting the "water intake structure" that pumps cooling water through the plant.
    The pumps were not essential to keep the reactor cool since the plant has been shut for planned refueling since Oct. 22.

    Exelon, however, was concerned that if the water rose more than 7 feet it could submerge the service water pump motor used to cool the water in the spent fuel pool, potentially forcing the company to use emergency water supplies from the in-house fire suppression system to keep the used uranium fuel rods in the pool from overheating, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said Monday night.

    Exelon said there was no danger to public health or safety. The plant has numerous means of keeping the water in the spent fuel pool cool, including the use of a portable pump moved to the water intake structure and the fire suppression system.
    Exelon said in a statement on Wednesday the winds and heavy rains generated tides 6.8 feet above mean sea level at the 43-year-old plant's water intake. But they were never high enough to top the intake canal banks or affect operation of the plant's equipment.
    After water levels returned to normal and offsite power was restored, Exelon said the plant exited the alert early Wednesday morning.

    The Oyster Creek alert was only the third time this year that the second-lowest of the NRC's four emergency action levels was triggered.
    The incident at the relatively small 636-megawatt Oyster Creek plant, which is about 60 miles (95 km) east of Philadelphia on the New Jersey Coast, came as Sandy made landfall as the largest Atlantic storm ever, bringing up to 90 mile per hour winds and 13-foot storm surges in the biggest test of the industry's emergency preparedness since the Fukushima disaster in Japan a year and a half ago.

    Despite the alert -- which is a serious but not catastrophic event that signals a "potential substantial degradation in the level of safety" -- the U.S. nuclear industry is broadly seen as having passed the test. About a dozen alerts have been issued in the past four years, according to NRC press releases.

    The NRC said Wednesday morning it was beginning to return to normal inspection coverage for the nuclear power plants in the U.S. Northeast.

    In addition to the event at Oyster Creek, three reactors were shut during the storm. They were Entergy Corp's Indian Point 3 in New York, Public Service Enterprise Group Inc's Salem 1 in New Jersey and Constellation Energy Nuclear Group's Nine Mile Point 1 in New York. The NRC said all safety systems responded as designed at the plants that shut.

    The NRC also said three other plants reduced power due to the storm. They were Dominion Resources Inc's Millstone 3 in Connecticut, Entergy's Vermont Yankee in Vermont and Exelon's Limerick in Pennsylvania. By early Wednesday, the reactors had begun to return to full service.