Local TV: Nuclear plant shuts down after “own in-house system” lost power due to blizzard — NRC: Pilgrim lost off-site power — 3 feet of snow in some parts of Boston area (VIDEO)

Published: February 9th, 2013 at 11:53 am ET


Follow-up to: [intlink id=”emergency-declared-nuclear-plant-blizzicane-hits-area-hurricane-force-windgust-boston” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Title: More than 400K without power in eastern Massachusetts
Source: WWLP
Author: Sy Becker
Date: Feb 9 2013, 9:21 AM EST

The storm that dumped two feet of snow on western Massachusetts treated the eastern part of the state more harshly. More than 400,000 customers in eastern Massachusetts are beginning their Saturday morning without power, and the state’s only nuclear power plant had to shut down. […]

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth had to be shut down because the plant’s own in-house system had also lost power due to the blizzard conditions.

About three feet of snow fell in some parts of the Boston area, and 28” of snow had already fallen in parts of central Connecticut.

A similar statement was read during the news broadcast: “Even the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth had to be shut down because the plant’s in-house system had also lost power during the storm.”

The AP reports “the NRC says the nuclear power plant experienced an automatic shutdown at around 9:15 p.m. Friday after losing off-site power”.

Watch the WWLP report here

Published: February 9th, 2013 at 11:53 am ET


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  2. Pilgrim nuclear plant in Massachusetts loses power, again — Second time in two days — May be weather-related — Workers still determining exactly what went wrong February 10, 2013
  3. TV on Nuclear Plant Snow: 30-mile long cloud went over Pittsburg — Residents reported over an inch of fluffy snowfall February 8, 2013
  4. Nuclear reactor 150 miles from Atlanta shuts down abruptly and unexpectedly — Triggered if system detects conditions that could be unsafe (VIDEO) April 22, 2011
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43 comments to Local TV: Nuclear plant shuts down after “own in-house system” lost power due to blizzard — NRC: Pilgrim lost off-site power — 3 feet of snow in some parts of Boston area (VIDEO)

  • harengus_acidophilus

    “own in-house system”
    It's just the backup system for emergencies,
    e.g. “losing off-site power”.

    Oh, wait …


    • garjackson

      oh, wait

    • PurpleRain PurpleRain

      Pilgrim isn't the only Nuclear Power Plant in Massachusetts. At least not that I remember. What about Rowe Nuclear in the very far north-western part of the state? Has that one been shut down?

      • rachelmouse

        Rowe closed out about a dozen years ago, is being treated as a state superfund site; has an Activity and Use Limitation on the land as they study tritium in groundwater, ad nauseam

  • CaptD CaptD

    Yet another NUCLEAR FAILURE, that is the bottom line!

    How many backup generators do they have, probably at least FOUR and any one of them is supposed to be able to provide power in an emergency; so this is huge news and hopefully a wakeup call for all those that live in the BOSTON area, (say within 50 miles of this reactor or "downwind" of it), the USA cannot afford a Trillion Dollar Eco-Disaster like Fukushima!

    Where would all these people be relocated to and for how long?

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      The Army must be scrambling their asses to get backup generators in there, in the worst snow storm of the season. They've got what, about 24 hours or less?

      Imagine having to evacuate Boston in this storm, everyone going west. How soon before New York City would have to be evacuated? And all the snow would be lethal.

      It was proven two years ago by Greg Palast that all the NPP backup generators were wrong for the job, with the full cooperation of the ruling nuclear authorities, and clearly there has been no attempt to rectify the situation. The failure of the generators that didn't flood at Fukushima proved this, and still nothing.

      All our lives to be sacrificed on the nuclear altar, for the profits of a few.

      Want to know who wants us dead, for their profit? Research who are the largest bondholders of the companies that own NPP's. It shouldn't take too much digging, it's all open records. Good luck.

      • rachelmouse

        Pilgrim sits on a rocky promontory, way off the beaten path in the southerly part of this enormous town, "America's hometown" As a friend who plows in the area said, you can't perfectly trust ANY equipment you don't use regularly, ie daily or weekly, in a situation like this. Oil truck can't get in to nursing home in area to refill generators either.

    • Seriously, even the state estimated damages from a meltdown at $484B, so you know it has to be at least double that.

      Keep up the good work bro!

  • Plan Nine

    I understand Boeing has some great lithium ion batteries they could use. Even if they fail, they still keep you warm – well, for a little while, anyway…

  • Jebus Jebus

    For a snowstorm????

    Massachusetts evacuates parts of state after deadly storm drops more than 2 feet of snow on Northeast


  • gottagetoffthegrid

    Gotta pay attention to this one. This is exactly how the news reports tricked out at fuku.
    They down played the problems until the first reactor blew apart and they couldnt lie any more.

    There is a few hours of battery power, but, if it's the same as fuku, there is no way to charge them.
    They will be venting pressure from the reactor any time now. Next stop hydrogen explosions.

    If I was in NYC I'd be popping iodine pills

    Good luck

  • Jebus Jebus

    Valve problem plagues Pilgrim nuclear plant
    February 06, 2013

    The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth is again experiencing problems with a finicky safety relief valve that shut the plant down last month.

    "Right now we're holding at about 82 percent," she said at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, adding that plant officials were continuing to evaluate the problem. The NRC website later showed power at the plant had increased to 87 percent.


    That's about where they were at when they scrammed…


    Saturday, February 9, 2013
    Pilgrim LOOP / NOUE
    Last evening (2/8) as a result of the blizzard burying the Northeast of the United States, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Massachusetts suffered a LOOP event (Loss Of Offsite Power) and subsequent reactor trip (also popularly called a "scram") which is the as-designed event sequence for an LOOP event. The NRC has made a press release this morning, the text of which follows:

    The plant's diesel generators are currently supplying power to plant equipment.


  • gottagetoffthegrid

    Well,jebus, if the gennies are running, that is better news.

    I'd still be popping Iodine, just in case.

    • Jebus Jebus

      The wording of the Entergy report against the NRC's is in the details.

      They lost offsite power from a downed mainline @ approx 9:15.
      They then scrammed from approx 87% power.
      Diesel IN HOUSE power (diesel generators) kicked in.

      Did they then loose IN House power after that?

      • gottagetoffthegrid

        I sure hope not. But if they did lose on site power I doubt they'll tell the truth. They still lie about TMI.

        all the local news is saying is there is"no threat to public safety"

  • gottagetoffthegrid

    From Wikipedia:

    Pilgrim Nuclear Generating Station is the only nuclear power plant operating in the United States Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is located in the Manomet section of Plymouth on Cape Cod Bay, south of the tip of Rocky Point and north of Priscilla Beach. Like many similar plants, it was constructed by Bechtel, and is powered by a General Electric boiling water reactor and generator — a General Electric Mark I reactor of the same type and design as the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant.[1] It has a 690 MW production capacity. Pilgrim Station produces about 14% of the electricity generated in Massachusetts.[2]

    Built at a cost of $231 million in 1972 by Boston Edison, it was sold in 1999 to the Louisiana-based Entergy Corporation, part of a complex deal that is the result of deregulation of the electrical utility industry.

    On April 11, 1986 a recurring equipment problem forced emergency shutdown of the plant. The resulting issue cost $1.001 billion.

    Pilgrim keeps its spent nuclear fuel in an on-site storage pool, waiting for federal direction on the correct disposal process. The Yucca Mountain site in Nevada was being considered for this purpose until its deselection in 2009.

    Pilgrim's original license to operate would have expired in 2012. In 2006, Entergy filed an application for an extended operating license (until 2032) with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.[3] In May 2012, the NRC approved the 20-year extension; NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko…

    • gottagetoffthegrid

      … In May 2012, the NRC approved the 20-year extension; NRC chairman Gregory Jaczko was the lone dissenting vote.[4]

    • 1. In 1972 built at a cost of $231 million

      2. In 1986 recurring problem, …resulting issue cost $1.001 billion.
      (that's some real inflation!)

      3. Decontamination after a catastrophic malfunction… TRILLIONS!!!
      (Destroyed lives and generations at risk of death and suffering cannot be calculated.)

      Anybody see a pattern here?

      • 16Penny 16Penny

        Yep, despite the butt hurt whining of the companies who have taken a risk on investing in anti life technology, it is still the sane choice to shut them all down ASAP. Even if you restrict the decision to financial criteria.

        Definitely a better option then to keep rolling the dice with the future of our race and the entire ecosystem on the line.

  • Jebus Jebus

    In September of 2011 the NRC said…

    NRC critical of Mass. nuke plant post-shutdown
    September 2, 2011

    The shutdown was blamed on human error.

    Although there was no danger to the public, the incident was serious enough for the NRC to send an inspection team to the Plymouth plant, a fairly rare occurrence.

    The NRC says the incident will bring increased scrutiny to Pilgrim.


    Then they gave the plant a 20 year extension to get that "human error" thing right…

    I wish that Gregory would say, "screw the NDA's" I'm coming clean…

    • gottagetoffthegrid

      I'm sure they made him an offer he can't refuse…

      • PurpleRain PurpleRain

        I agree with Jebus.. and with you, Gottagetoffthegrid. But I still hope that after so many tough years with the agency that he would take the higher moral and legal and ethical road and do the right thing and spill his guts and turn whistleblower. Unfortunately, I'm guess (I don't bet, but if I did….) , that his offer he can't refuse probably has a whole lot to do with whatever retirement planning etc.. was there for his family and their extended family's interestes too. All these nuclear-knowledgeable people have a nasty habit of "disappearing."

  • jackassrig

    How long will the generators run before they run out of fuel? 24 hours to 48 hours is usually a good number. The plant may have a pipeline from the outside to top off their tanks. If they have all four generators running-I don't know there are four-then the fuel will run out sooner. Normally, I would think they would have three running and one as a backup in case of an emergency with one of the running units. IMO

    • gottagetoffthegrid

      They are supposed to have enough fuel for a week or two assuming Entregy(yes, the VT Yankee guys) has clean fuel in all of their tanks. But methinks they have an efinity to the shortcut.

      If they lose all power, what they call a station blackout, a BWR has only one possible outcome according to the NRC: full meltdown.

      • gottagetoffthegrid


        Pls admin-Santa just a wee edit function for next Xmas 😉

      • guezilla

        On this forum next up, they're lying an everything will break down anyways (the latter is actually kinda likely*).

        However, since it's been asked and I just wasted a night finding out: http://www.entergy-nuclear.com/content/plant_information/pilgrim.pdf

        In short:
        Pilgrim has two independent emergency diesel generators capable of powering whole plant, with independent underground fuel-pipes and tanks of one weeks fuel for each of the diesel generators.

        If both of them should fail, there's a thir Station Blackout Generator capable of powering emergency cooling etc. for a week.

        If all three generators fail, there's emergency batteries capable of powering emergency systems & shutdown for 8 hours minimum.

        The generator systems were included in their station license renewal in 2012 so their existence, condition and maintenance procedures were checked.

        Historical footnote:
        (*) November 12, 1987: A winter storm disabled both of Pilgrim’s offsite power transmission lines, causing a loss of offsite power. Both of the emergency diesel generators (EDGs) automatically started, but the B generator failed about nine hours later due to a fault on its output current transformer. The NRC dispatched an AIT
        to Pilgrim to investigate this problem and four other recent EDG problems: fires involving the A generator during test runs on June 29 and 30 and spurious actuation of the fire suppression system for the B generator on July 2 and September 17.

        • Fukushima had 24 hours of battery backup and it did not help them.

          Seems ironic to me that a Nuclear Plant, (Death Machine), at times, relies on batteries and fossil fuel, just to keep from exploding.

          • NOPE!.. THEY only had a trifling 4 hours worth! Most of there battery-banks was Non-Functional!~

            • And to add to problem…? All other plants use 2 volt, and theirs was 24 volt! That's why they were forced to use double batteries out of their CARS!

              • gottagetoffthegrid

                They just stack the 2v batts in series to get the voltage.
                12 two volt batts give more current, for longer than 2 twelves.

                But if you flood them with salt water they are all fried regardless.

                • In the dark..while attempting to do so with ad-hock wires into each relief valves power panel…!//??? Ummm.. you try that… and OH!.. you carry all the batteries, I got the wires!

          • "The 125-volt DC batteries for units 1 & 2 were flooded and failed, leaving them without instrumentation, control or lighting. Unit 3 had battery power for about 30 hours."


            I am pretty sure that I read 'somewhere' that the Japanese plan called for 24 hr battery backup, whereas the US plan was for only 8. Of course I can't locate it now.

            It should be 72 hours of battery at a minimum, but that would be costly.

        • guezilla

          Since the three generators can be ran alternatively or probably with some effort fed each others fuel, this would mean they have diesel for 2 to 3 weeks on site. "Mean Time Before Failure" for the generators would probably become an issue long before fuel supply, I'm too lazy to check out the MTBF for that kind of generators, but it can be distressingly high. Though most of the time it will be rapid replacement of some piece with spare on hand; but not always.

          Note, however that I couldn't find out how many generators their license requires to run. One problem with redundant systems (or rather the lack of them) is that the reactor licenses typically do not require all of them to be usable at the same time and as long as it's not due to common cause multiple failures are not considered an issue. This is one cause why nuclear energy companies usually state only "We have multiple redundant systems…" so they don't have to mention many of them may already be out of order.

          • guezilla

            Whoops, failure frequency can be distressingly high, MTBF distressingly low of course. One weeks worth of fuel seems common for nuclear plants, not sure if that is usually per generator or total though.

            For passive cooling (without electricity) of reactor core they have also reacto steam powered Reactor Core Isolation Cooling system that needs no electricity to operate, but no Isolation Condenser system.

            So that gives potentially 5 redundant power systems to cool the reactor core in case of loss of off-site power. If the chance of failure of each of them was for random example 10% then the possibility of all failing at the same time due to non-common-cause failure would be 0.1*0.1*0.1*0.1*0.1 = 0.00001 = 0.001%. The possibility of at least one of them failing at any given time would be 0.1+0.1+0.1+0.1+0.1 = 0.5 = 50%.

            Hence the need to allow running even with some redundant systems out of order; with enough redundant systems it's almost guaranteed at least one of them will be out of service all the time, and because they're "redundant" fixing them will not be a high priority. The regulations might demand only 2 of them need to be in working order, in which case in this hypothetical example probability both remaining systems fail is 0.1 * 0.1 = 0.01 = 1%. If there is a common cause failure to both systems, then we're back down to 10% for that specific cause. And hence the over-confidence in redundant systems.

  • jackassrig

    Thanks guezilla. Weeks supply for each gen set. That's more than I would have ever expected.

  • I left a phone message for the Pilgrim senior public relations officer, no one answered.

    Sr. Public Affairs Officer:
    Diane Screnci – 610-337-5330

  • 16Penny 16Penny

    Anyone aware of radiation tests being done on the New England snow?

  • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

    I'm not sure why the question I posted yesterday regarding "which"-"IN-HOUSE SYSTEM" they spoke of "also being down in addition to the off-site power sources"??!! I'd still like to know and will check back to see if any additional info about storm-affected NPP's have been updated since this post/question might end up MIA for some reason again(?)! Specifically I am focused on the actual status of Pilgrim right now and whether the generators are online or not and what the REAL timelines are for the beginning of any Fukushima-Syndrome events that may be imminent(?)!! IMO the question is reasonable now and was when I asked it the 1st time,but S-H's I guess?… I'll still try to either confirm or debunk the validity of the story considering it was the fertilizer factory aka CNN. Might be able to find out more by sifting through the NRC event report log's back pages where they ALWAYS bury the worst items of public concern and I'll "try" to post additional info & links if there are any to be found that is(?)! If not,then Gd-Nite ALL! 🙂 ~**