Emergency Declared at NJ Nuclear Plant from Hurricane Sandy — Power lost, ocean water rising — Concern about cooling of reactor and spent fuel pool

Published: October 30th, 2012 at 12:20 am ET
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UPDATE: Reuters: Just 6 more inches of water could submerge NJ nuclear plant's pump to cool spent fuel pool -- 25 hours to boiling without more coolant -- New footage of flooding nearby (VIDEO)

UPDATE 2: NBC: Water continues to rise in area near New Jersey nuclear plant under flood emergency (AUDIO)

Title: Nation’s oldest nuclear plant on alert
Source: Associated Press
Date: Oct. 29, 2012

The nation’s oldest nuclear power plant, already out of service for scheduled refueling, was put on alert late Monday after waters from Superstorm Sandy rose 6 feet above sea level. [...]

High water levels at Oyster Creek [...] prompted safety officials to declare an “unusual event” around 7 p.m. About two hours later, the situation was upgraded to an “alert,” the second-lowest in a four-tiered warning system*.

The plant’s owner, Exelon Corp., said power was also disrupted in the station’s switchyard, but backup diesel generators were providing stable power, with more than two weeks of fuel on hand. [...]

As discussed by nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen, there is NO backup diesel generator for the spent fuel pool at Oyster Creek. See: Gundersen on TV: Biggest problem I see is Oyster Creek plant near Jersey Shore -- No way to cool spent fuel pool while power is out -- All nuclear fuel is in pool, none in reactor (VIDEO)

*Read about the NRC’s four ‘Emergency Classifications’ here

  • ‘Alert’ – Events are in process or have occurred which involve an actual or potential substantial degradation in the level of safety of the plant. Any releases of radioactive material from the plant are expected to be limited to a small fraction of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) protective action guides (PAGs)

Title: U.S. Exelon declares alert at New Jersey reactor due to storm
Source: Reuters
Date: Oct 29, 2012 11:58pm EDT

[...] The NRC spokesman said if the flood waters contined to rise, it could affect the reactor’s service water pumps, which are used for shut-down cooling and to cool the spent-fuel pool.

Since the plant was already shut for refueling, the NRC spokesman said the company could use water from the fire hose to cool the spent-fuel pool if necessary. [...]

Watch video of flooding seen just a short walk from Oyster Creek nuclear plant from earlier today

Published: October 30th, 2012 at 12:20 am ET
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Related Posts

  1. NRC: Spent fuel pool cooling lost at NJ’s Oyster Creek nuclear plant during Hurricane Sandy November 2, 2012
  2. Gundersen on TV: Biggest problem I see is Oyster Creek plant near Jersey Shore — No way to cool spent fuel pool while power is out — All nuclear fuel is in pool, none in reactor (VIDEO) October 29, 2012
  3. Reuters: Just 6 more inches of water could submerge NJ nuclear plant’s pump to cool spent fuel pool — 25 hours to boiling without more coolant — New footage of flooding nearby (VIDEO) October 30, 2012
  4. NRC: Alert still in effect at NJ nuclear plant — High water levels in Oyster Creek’s water intake structure remain October 30, 2012
  5. NYT: Fire before Ft. Calhoun’s spent fuel pool lost cooling power “remains under investigation” June 21, 2011

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