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

Published: October 30th, 2012 at 11:01 am ET
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>>> Follow-up to: 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) <<<

Title: UPDATE 3-Sandy slows US nuclear plants, oldest declares alert
Source: Reuters
Author: By Scott DiSavino
Date: Oct 30, 2012 9:14am EDT
Emphasis Added

Oyster Creek may use fire system to cool spent fuel rods

[...] a further rise to 7 feet could submerge the service water pump motor that is used to cool the water in the spent fuel pool, potentially forcing it to use emergency water supplies from the in-house fire suppression system to keep the rods from overheating.

On Tuesday, an NRC spokesman said the levels reached a peak of 7.4 feet — apparently above the threshold. As of 6:10 a.m. EDT waters were at 6.5 feet, with the next high tide at 11:45 a.m. He said the company had moved a portable pump to the water intake structure as a precaution, but has not needed to use it. [...]

“Right now there’s no imminent threat of releases. There’s no protective actions around the plant,” Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said on the Today Show. [...]

Exelon spokesman David Tillman [...] said he did not know whether the service water system was operational last night. [...]

See also: 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 11:01 am ET
By

24 comments

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  1. 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
  2. Science Mag: Radioactive substances that wash up on beaches can enter water supply — Particles left on sand after high tide accumulate; ‘Important’ process with Fukushima releases? February 10, 2014
  3. Mystery fire at Ft. Calhoun nuke plant: Disabled ability to cool spent fuel pool — Feds sending special team of inspectors to learn more — Reactor will not restart until cause determined September 12, 2011
  4. Meteorologist: “Very high risk of something extraordinary happening” along coast where New Jersey nuclear plant is located — “Storm surge expected to be highest recorded” October 29, 2012
  5. NOAA: “This is the worst-case scenario” — Official in NJ: We’ve never seen anything like it, at high tide the Ocean met the bay October 29, 2012

24 comments to 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

  • arclight arclight

    Oct 30, 2012 9:14

    is the date threat reuters released this about 5 hours ago? and the today show was 8 hours ago??

    just trying to get a gauge on the timeframe..

    "he did not know whether the service water system was operational "

    would they turn the electricity off for the flood and turn it back on after the cleanup?

    did anyone on the show enquire??
    :(


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    • Radio VicFromOregon

      I haven't gotten to the article about Gundersen this afternoon on this topic, but, this is my best guess – The fuel pools are going to start to heat up without the circulating cooling pumps but there is a timeframe that this can happen safely, if you take the meaning, "safely" very loosely. They are probably wasting time trying to get the non-submersible pumps dry and operating again. I believe they tried that at Fukushima, too. They need to use the portable back up and not let the pools heat in the first place while trucking in new pumps, which will take time. These are big machines and they will have to figure out if they need to pull the dead ones and put the replacements in those spots or if they have room to just set new ones down somewhere and reroute the pipe. I think they have 3 days, maybe a little longer depending on fuel load and heat until they absolutely have to use the portable and the fire suppression water. This IS the chewing gum and shoestring protocol the NRC calls redundant safety systems.


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  • ephemerexfleur ephemerexfleur

    waiting on tenterhooks to see how this all progresses…


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  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    Hurricane Sandy Aftermath: Storm Leaves Millions Without Power, More Than A Dozen Dead
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/30/hurricane-sandy-storm_n_2042815.html


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  • Mack Mack

    Good grief.

    A nuclear meltdown could 'hang in the balance' of fire hoses, diesel generators and a portable pump???

    Why don't I feel reassured?


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  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    “Hurricane Sandy grounded thousands of flights in the U.S. northeast Monday and upended travel plans across the globe, stranding passengers from Hong Kong to Europe. The massive storm threatens to bring a near halt to air travel for at least two days in a key region for both domestic and international flights….”
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57541962/hurricane-sandy-a-nightmare-for-travelers/


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  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    This report mentions storm causing scares at 2 nuclear power plants:
    Sandy leaves death, damp and darkness in wake

    “NEW YORK (AP) — As Superstorm Sandy marched slowly inland, millions along the East Coast awoke Tuesday without power or mass transit, with huge swaths of the nation's largest city unusually vacant and dark.
    “New York was among the hardest hit, with its financial heart in Lower Manhattan shuttered for a second day and seawater cascading into the still-gaping construction pit at the World Trade Center. President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in the city and Long Island.
    “The storm that made landfall in New Jersey on Monday evening with 80 mph sustained winds killed at least 16 people in seven states, cut power to more than 7.4 million homes and businesses from the Carolinas to Ohio, caused scares at two nuclear power plants and stopped the presidential campaign cold.
    “The massive storm reached well into the Midwest: Chicago officials warned residents to stay away from the Lake Michigan shore as the city prepares for winds of up to 60 mph and waves exceeding 24 feet well into Wednesday….”

    Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/news/us/article/Sandy-leaves-death-damp-and-darkness-in-wake-3991483.php#ixzz2AngCXFjh


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  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    Indian Point NPP:

    Superstorm Sandy slams East Coast, leaving floods, millions without power

    “According to the flight-tracking service FlightAware, more than 13,500 flights were canceled for Monday and Tuesday, almost all related to the storm. By early Tuesday morning, more than 500 flights scheduled for Wednesday also were canceled….

    New York's Indian Point nuclear power plant partly shut down

    "Officials declared an "unusual event" at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey Township, N.J., the nation's oldest, when waters searched to 6 feet above sea level during the evening. Within two hours, the situation at the reactor — which was offline for regular maintenance — was upgraded to an alert, the second-lowest in a four-tiered warning system. Oyster Creek provides 9 percent of the state's electricity…." 
    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57542332/superstorm-sandy-slams-east-coast-leaving-floods-millions-without-power/


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  • TheWorldIsFüküd

    Hey everyone, TWIF here.

    I live in CT. Storm was pretty insane. Went outside around 8ish during the most intense winds and it was pretty serious. It was crazy too cause the clouds would break and you could see the full moon. Eeire..

    No power here – so bored.. didnt bother going to work trees down everywhere.

    Worried about the NJ nuke plant. Luckily I bought a really good gas mask a few weeks back. And my mom was mocking me when I bought it lol. ( this was before Sandy formed )

    I hope for more updates on this.


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  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    Hurricane Sandy Brings Wind, Rain and Irony to US Nuclear Plants
    “Containment breech is always a concern, but it is not the main issue today. A bigger worry are SBOs–Station Black Outs–loss-of-power incidents that could impede a plant’s capacity to cool its reactors or spent fuel pools, or could interfere with operators’ ability to monitor everything that is going on inside those areas.
    “As reported last year, Hurricane Irene caused an emergency shutdown at Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant when aluminum siding torn off by high winds shorted out the main transformer and caused an explosion, damaging structures and equipment. Calvert Cliffs was one of the facilities that had chosen not to reduce output or shutdown in advance of Irene–especially alarming because just days before that storm, plant operators had reported trouble with its diesel backup generators.
    “Irene caused other problems, beyond loss of electricity to millions of consumers, public notification sirens in two emergency preparedness zones were disabled by the storm.
    “In sum, storm damage triggered a scram at a plant with faulty backup generators. If power had not been restored, backup would have failed, and the rising temperatures in the reactors and fuel pools would have necessitated an evacuation of the area–only evacuation would have been hampered because of widespread power outages and absent sirens….”


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  • Nigwil

    Of course if they have to resort to cooling the SFOs with water from fire hoses, this means that they are ADDING water rather than recirculating it thru the normal cooling circuit.
    The direct consequence of adding water is overfliw and release of water from the SFO. Into the bay not nice.


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