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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Water leak forces shutdown at Pilgrim Nuclear in Plymouth



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Water leak forces shutdown at Pilgrim Nuclear in Plymouth








The plant is powering down after operators identified a possible leak in the condenser bay.
PLYMOUTH — Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station is powering down after plant operators identified a likely water leak inside the feedwater heating system.
It’s the latest setback for a plant that has been fueled for the last time and is scheduled to close on May 31, 2019.
“This is something we’ve been monitoring, and when we saw indications when there was a leak, we began powering down,” said Patrick O’Brien, spokesman for Entergy, which owns the plant.
The leak is in the innermost feedwater heater inside the condenser bay, which is a difficult location for workers to access safely while the plant is functioning, O’Brien said. The plant has five feedwater heaters that push water through the reactors where it turns to steam and condenses back through.
“The heater with the suspected leak, known as the 5th Point, is located inside the condenser bay and due to this location, the unit needed to be shut down to allow for a proper inspection and repair under the safest conditions possible,” O’Brien said in a statement.
O’Brien said plant employees and the public “remained safe at all times.”
The plant began powering down overnight after the leak was discovered and was operating at about 30 percent power at 10 a.m., O’Brien said.
The duration of the shutdown is unknown. O’Brien said Entergy considers when Pilgrim returns to service to be business-sensitive information and does not share that information publicly.
Even as Pilgrim officials say the plant is safe, repeated problems have necessitated shutdowns in recent years, including at least one in the last year. In late 2016, a leaked internal Nuclear Regulatory Commission email documenting safety concerns detailed “poor maintenance, poor engineering practices, and equipment reliability problems” at the plant, which can produce 680 megawatts of power using its boiling water reactor.


http://www.patriotledger.com/news/20180306/water-leak-forces-shutdown-at-pilgrim-nuclear-in-plymouth


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