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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Pilgrim shut down during snowstorm






Pilgrim shut down during snowstorm


By Greg Bryant/Cape Cod Times

PLYMOUTH -- Operators shut down Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station shortly at 2 p.m. Thursday after one of the two main 345-volt lines that provide off site power to the plant “became unavailable,” according to Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Neil Sheehan.
“There have been no complications with the shutdown thus far,” Sheehan said in an email.
The emergency generators were fired up to power cooling and other emergency systems functioning, even though the second 345-volt line, along with a smaller line, from offsite have remained in service.
Patrick O’Brien, a spokesman for Entergy Corp., Pilgrim’s owner and operator, said plant managers decided to use the diesel generators for safety systems because of their reliability.
Plant watchdogs had been calling on federal regulators to order Pilgrim’s reactor shut down since yesterday, when strong winds and flooding were forecast.
The NRC left it to Pilgrim’s management, along with three federal inspectors onsite at the plant, to make the call. O’Brien had said late yesterday there were no plans to power down the reactor in anticipation of storm-related problems.
O’Brien issued the following written statement from Entergy shortly before 4 p.m Thursday
“We are working to determine the cause of the line loss. Pilgrim had been safely operating for 227 consecutive days following the completion of our most recent refueling outage in May 2017. We will take this opportunity to conduct preventive maintenance that we could not otherwise perform with the plant operating at full power. When Pilgrim will return to 100 percent power is considered business sensitive, and we do not disclose that information.”
Mary Lampert, president of Pilgrim Watch, said her group had asked federal regulators to order the reactor shut down as a pre-emptive measure.
“My concern was flooding, the high winds, the water, everything,” Lampert said shortly after the reactor was manually powered down.
“So much for (Energy Secretary Rick) Perry’s and Trump’s faith in nuclear as providing reliable power,” Lampert said. “It’s only Jan. 4. We’re off to a good start.”
A January blizzard in 2015 resulted in an emergency shutdown that was accompanied by a number of system problems. Those storm-related difficulties pushed Pilgrim into Column 4, as one of the country’s worst performing reactors.

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