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Schone writes: "The nation's oldest nuclear plant declared an alert and a second plant just 40 miles from New York City was forced to shut down power."

A cooling tower is seen at the Salem nuclear power plant known as Artificial Island. (photo: Mel Evans/AP)
A cooling tower is seen at the Salem nuclear power plant known as Artificial Island. (photo: Mel Evans/AP)


Hurricane Sandy: Problems at Five Nuke Plants

By Mark Schone, ABC News

31 October 12

 

he nation's oldest nuclear plant declared an alert and a second plant just 40 miles from New York City was forced to shut down power as five different nuke plants in Hurricane Sandy's path experienced problems during the storm.

Indian Point in Buchanan, New York, on the Hudson River north of New York City, automatically shut power to its unit 3 on Monday night "as a result of an electrical grid disturbance," according to Entergy, the plant's operator.

The connection between the generator and the offsite grid was lost, and the unit is designed to shut down to protect itself from electrical damage. Entergy said there was no release of radioactivity, no damage to equipment, and no threat to the public health.

"At Indian Point yesterday the river level and wind had no impact on plant operation," said a spokesman. Another unit at the plant continues to operate, and the company expects unit 3 to return to service within days.

Operators also declared an alert at the nation's oldest nuclear plant, Oyster Creek in Lacey Township, New Jersey, on Monday evening after the center of Sandy made landfall, "due to water exceeding certain high water level criteria in the plant's water intake structure."

The alert level is the "the second lowest of four action levels," as defined by the NRC.

"Water level is rising in the intake structure due to a combination of a rising tide, wind direction and storm surge," the NRC said Monday. "It is anticipated water levels will begin to abate within the next several hours."

Exelon Corporation, the owner of the plant, said in a statement that there was "no threat to the public health or safety" from the situation.

The plant also lost power, which is critical to keep spent fuel rods from overheating, but "the station's two backup diesel generators activated immediately," and it has two weeks of diesel fuel on site, Exelon said.

A reactor at an Exelon facility outside Philadelphia, Limerick Generating Station, was ramped down to 91 percent power after Sandy caused a problem with its condenser.

A unit at a fourth plant 43 miles from Philadelphia, Salem Nuclear Power Plant on Delaware Bay in southern New Jersey, was manually shut down just after 1 a.m. Tuesday morning "when four of the station's six circulating water pumps were no longer available due to weather impacts from Hurricane Sandy," according to plant co-owner PSEG Nuclear.

"No issues were encountered during the Salem Unit 1 shutdown," said PSEG Nuclear, "and the plant is currently stable. In addition to the operating crews onsite, Salem has designated response teams available."

At the Nine Mile Point plant near Oswego, New York, in what operators say "is likely a storm-related event," unit 1 shut down automatically around 9 p.m. Monday because of an electrical fault, while unit 2 experienced a power loss from an incoming power line because of the same fault. An emergency diesel generator started automatically to supply power to unit 2. The NRC said that the operators are still evaluating the cause of the event. "All plant safety systems responded as designed and the shutdown was safely carried out," said the NRC. Nine Mile Point is owned by CENG, a joint venture of Exelon and a French power company.

 

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+54 # NanFan 2012-10-31 09:44
We must divest ourselves from our dependence on nuclear power...and as fast as we can!

Everywhere I go in the Midwest, there is wind power, lining the hills as far as the eye can see.

This is the future, and we should embrace it with great force, as if we do not, the alternative future of dependence on nuclear power is the bleakest we could imagine.

These increasingly dramatic storms will tear the nuclear house down and take ALL of us with them.

Scary!

N.
 
 
+15 # Carol Sterritt 2012-10-31 19:33
These massive storms also illustrate the need for making all energy De-Centralized.

Why do we have the Big Utilities insisting that they need to run power lines everywhere? Well, for one thing, they do this, because as long as they buy lots of equipment, they can get these tax depreciation deductions, which benefit them greatly. The Big Utilities also take state money and "pretend" they will be using it for needed repair. But then they don't do the repairs - which is why Burlingame Calif had such a huge gas line explosion one year ago.

Meanwhile, in my neighborhood in No calif. people have wind turbines that are no bigger than the attic fans of ten years ago. And people have solar panels directly on their homes. We need energy we control, which doesn't get interfered with when a transformer blows up ten miles away, or the utility energy plant is taken out by a storm fifty miles away!
 
 
0 # Quickmatch 2012-11-01 18:07
Yes, and those small wind turbines "no bigger than the attic fans of ten years ago" can't generate sufficient energy to run one of those fans; not to mention that when the wind is blowing hard enough to spin a generator--just open some cross ventilation!
 
 
+25 # Douglas Jack 2012-10-31 10:02
We're so glad the inevitable (human design math) nuclear power plant malfunction hasn't happened 'yet'! Leakage & contamination from wastes of these reactors will be with us for hundreds of thousands of years. We can confidently hand these nuclear problems over to our children & grandchildren, knowing that in order to power energy & materials for our non-essential lavish lifestyles today, they will be permanently slaves to our decisions.

With tropical hurricane winds & torrential rain becoming the 'new-normal' along the length of North America's east coast from Texas to Newfoundland, causing rivers to swell 10 times their usual flows, it is time to recalibrate the nuclear plant alarm high-water containments & alarm settings as a first step. Events will only get worse & worse at the rate at which our colonial society is not-learning & not-responding to the real challenges before us.

Like Alice-in-Wonder land's 'white-rabbit' says, " I'm late / I'm late / For a very important date. / No time to say "Hello, Goodbye". / I'm late, I'm late, I'm late." https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/design/9-complementary-energy
 
 
+7 # Carol Sterritt 2012-10-31 19:35
But Fukushima occurred just eighteen months back, and the radiation from that event, including cesium radiation, blanketed much of the USA. Plus many in Japan will be burying their loved ones, from the inevitable cancer toll.
 
 
+33 # Innocent Victim 2012-10-31 10:08
Beyond the immediate dangers due to severe weather, the long term threats of drought, famine, floods, and disease are what may kill a substantial number of the human race and other animal life. I have in mind something like the great plagues before 1840 in Europe. We have almost 7 billion people on earth. A ten percent reduction is conceivable; that would be almost 700 million people dead.

"Smart" people in our major industries know the threat. Where they are stupid is in expecting that a technological fix will be found, and all can continue unchanged. That is the attitude towards nuclear wastes. We'll keep piling it up and storing it (as cheaply as possible) until a fix is found by some bright fellow.

Meanwhile, they try to keep the lid on by controlling the media and the politicians.

Quietly, experiments of a dangerous sort are being tried, such as dumping iron salts into the sea in huge quantities. Other schemes are on the drawing boards of private parties and, no doubt, government agencies. We are all going to get a lesson in the fact that some problems have no solutions and that one should not fool with "Mother Nature".
 
 
+8 # Carol Sterritt 2012-10-31 19:36
Meanwhile, our "clean and green" President is planning on giving a 58 billion dollar loan to the nuclear power plant industry. Yet most people here refuse to wake up in time to give the Third Party their vote.
 
 
0 # gadfly2 2012-11-02 04:21
Thank you Carol Sterritt. The most important thing to remember is that "voting for someone you don't believe in is wasting your vote." If everyone who chooses the lessor of two evils voted for the candidate they really believed in politics would change right now. Walk away from the 2 parties and vote for a real candidate.
 
 
+1 # Quickmatch 2012-11-01 18:17
Really, now, experiments of a dangerous sort? The iron experiments are being conducted in a severely limited area south of New Zeland in which ONE TON of iron salts were released into 300 square miles of ocean, in an effort to assess the possibility of increasing CO2 sequestration by stimulating phytoplanckton growth. No pressure on you, but what are the"other schemes on the drawing board?
 
 
-11 # moonrigger 2012-10-31 10:10
It is good to know about the status of these plants. All appear to be functioning as designed, with backup power, etc. in place. Remember that green energy solutions are probably offline or seriously damaged, and will need to be replaced. The other sources are coal, gas, or oil fueled plants...we haven't heard yet about their status post storm. Be glad that the highly skilled and eternally alert managers of the grid are working to keep the vast majority of folks with power. What we really need to consider is: when are we going to fund the essential need to put power lines underground, or else usher in the new M-reactors, which are vastly safer than the old nukes, don't contribute to global warming, and are less vulnerable to weather or other catastrophes, because they're on localized grids?
 
 
+4 # demongel17 2012-10-31 19:12
In the same fashion as the bullshit stores of oil, (from a story printed here the other day), that, if burned would increase the temps of the planet WAY BEYOND ANYTHING THAT WOULD KEEP LIFE ALIVE!!!!!), NUKE plants should be done away with! PERIOD! As far as what to do with the radioactive materials.....d amned good question??????? !!!
 
 
+1 # noitall 2012-11-01 11:05
Have they figured out what to do with "spent" fuel? If nukes are as safe as you infer, it seems THAT should be the determinant as to whether or not to continue with nukes. They haven't found a solution and they won't as long as they're allowed to remain in operation w/o a solution. We can't make it ALL into bullets and sprinkle it across "enemy" territory.
 
 
-10 # SMoonz 2012-10-31 10:34
It looks like the mainstream media is now willing to talk about this problem after the storm.

Amber Lyon had been talking about the danger of these same reactors before the storm hit.

We need to look seriously into fixing these outdated plants. With a NAWAPA/ Bretton Woods style program we could fix our infrastructure and get our nuclear plants back in order.
 
 
+12 # natalierosen 2012-10-31 10:46
NO surprise here. Our energy needs are slowly but surely KILLING our nation, the world, our children and if we get that far their children's future.

Mother nature gave us a HUGE HUGE wake up call. ACT ON IT. Fossil fuels will destroy us. The earth will live but without the greatest killer known to man -- MAN HIMSELF!!
 
 
+4 # Douglas Jack 2012-10-31 14:01
Natalierosen, Our western populations are indoctrinated within our colonial institutions (churches, schools, media, courts, industry, social-services etc) exactly as you say that; "the greatest killer known to man -- man himself!" Part of this alienation from ourselves is deliberate so institutions have our undivided loyalty. In self-induced ignorance, institutions don't want us turning to our own capacities for mutual-aid. We are encouraged to react instead of proacting in mutual-liveliho od to build strong relations. Learn about your own 'indigenous' (Latin = 'self-generatin g') roots as well as those of First Nations here in order to understand. Cynicism, despair & hopelessness are no accident. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/structure/9-do-we-know-who-we-are
 
 
+16 # MainStreetMentor 2012-10-31 11:14
The motivation behind nuclear power is greed - not need. Congressional members who advocate nuclear power do so because of special interest lobbying - paid for by those who will/would profit from embracing the proliferation of that power source.
 
 
+16 # nancyw 2012-10-31 11:16
Climate Change, Climate Change, Climate Change. Neither president nor candidate for president is saying these 2 words. Nothing is going to go well if this issue is not brought into the national conversation as a reality and not a 'new age' hocus pocus. Whay aren't the scientists screaming and forming a coalition to DO something about it?!!
 
 
+19 # reiverpacific 2012-10-31 11:23
Remember about a year ago, when the GOP shown their unification in fighting the president's $447 billion jobs plan which might even have included upgrading some of the worn out plants of all kinds including sewage and water treatment, electric cabling specifications, subway flood protection measures (I'm just speculating here but it is just common sense).
They also blocked a roads improvement package of $60 Bn,
Now how many jobs across the spectrum from Engineering/Arc h'/CM professionals to hands-on skilled trades and labor, would that have provided and maybe even lessened Sandy's impact and certainly the data to plan for major impact storms and other 'events' that the planet will certainly chuck at us as we incresingly screw with her own life forces in the future?
But nah -all they want is Ob' out so they can cut regulations, public spending and taxes for their Monarchy-aspira nt, slave-making buddies.
 
 
-8 # macleod77 2012-10-31 11:52
NEWS FLASH: no problems. Everything is working as expected. THAT is your news?

Typical Fear mongering. Why no posts about Fossil Fuel plants?
 
 
+13 # wantrealdemocracy 2012-10-31 16:27
We MUST change this rotten government. In so many ways is is extremely clear that our honored members of Congress are bought and paid for. Kick them out!! We MUST do something and forget about voting. The fix is in and you know it. We need a general strike in the lame duck session of Congress to DEMAND that those bastards pass a 1% sales tax on Wall St. They buy and sell billions of dollars without paying taxes. I pay big taxes if I ever get enough money to buy my kids new shoes. We gotta make some MAJOR changes in this nation. Start with putting some bankers in Jail and cleaning out the Congress of people who take bribes and give away our democracy.
 
 
+2 # reiverpacific 2012-11-01 08:18
Quoting wantrealdemocracy:
We MUST change this rotten government. In so many ways is is extremely clear that our honored members of Congress are bought and paid for. Kick them out!! We MUST do something and forget about voting. The fix is in and you know it. We need a general strike in the lame duck session of Congress to DEMAND that those bastards pass a 1% sales tax on Wall St. They buy and sell billions of dollars without paying taxes. I pay big taxes if I ever get enough money to buy my kids new shoes. We gotta make some MAJOR changes in this nation. Start with putting some bankers in Jail and cleaning out the Congress of people who take bribes and give away our democracy.

Of course you're righteously angry but it would be like, if not more difficult than, the mythical cleaning out of the Augean Stables by ol' Heracles, only there's probably more reeking shit piled up inside the Beltway than even that, starting with SCOTUS on top of the heap and working down.
And the lobbyist vermin are bringing in more truckload daily. The removal of and making illegal lobbyists, and overturning Citizens United might be a good starting place for the first few shovel loads.
 

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