NRC begins special investigation into water pump malfunction at Illinois nuke plant

Published: February 1st, 2012 at 5:46 pm ET


Title: NRC investigating nuclear reactor water pumps
Source: The Carmi Times
Date: Jan 31, 2012

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is launching a special inspection into how some equipment responded to a power failure at a northern Illinois nuclear reactor.

NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng says some water pumps at the Byron Generating Station switched off when the Unit 2 reactor lost power Monday, then came back on without being manually reset.

She says the pumps are designed to switch off after a set amount of time if there is an undervoltage, but normally must be reset.

She says there was no danger because the plant about 95 miles northwest of Chicago has multiple backup pumps, but the NRC wants all pumps to perform properly. […]

Read the report here

Title: NRC inspecting water pumps at stalled US reactor
Source: AP
Date: Feb. 1, 2012

[…] The insulator, a piece of protective equipment that helps regulate the flow of electricity in the plant’s switchyard, failed Monday morning and fell off the metal structure to which it was attached. That interrupted power and caused the reactor to automatically shut down as a precaution. […]

Meanwhile, the NRC began an inspection of water pumps that help cool the reactor, commission spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng said.

Some pumps are designed to switch off after a set period of time after detecting an undervoltage to prevent damage, then must be manually restarted. But some of those pumps shut down and restarted on their own after Monday’s power outage, she said.

She said there was no danger because the plant has multiple backup pumps, but the NRC wants all pumps to perform properly.

“We are asking if all pumps, whether they have a built-in mechanism or not, functioned property and responded as expected and if there were any unexpected problems with equipment,” Mitlyng said. […]

Read the report here

Published: February 1st, 2012 at 5:46 pm ET


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18 comments to NRC begins special investigation into water pump malfunction at Illinois nuke plant

  • radegan

    “Made in China”. End of investigation.

  • GoFrodo

    I’m sort of behind – does this mean everything’s ok now? Aside from the one completed release?

  • “IEMA wants to ensure that radioactive tritium that was in steam released after the reactor shutdown is at safe levels.”

    (!) No. Safe. Levels.

    • ion jean ion jean

      Wow…that reads like an NRC press release…they drone the word “safe” at least 4 times in one paragraph…

      Viktoria is going to finish reading “Les Miserables” then spin around the Byron control room where her hair extensions will get caught in the turbine levers and Oops! Just a little tritium steam release, Well Within The Safe Levels…how do we know what a safe level is?? WEhhhhll, if the glass doesn’t jiggle, there’s no radiation in it, right??

  • PoorDaddy PoorDaddy

    I would assume that if they had Viktoria dance vigorously on the top of the pumps for an hour and then checked for new leaks, if none found, all is A-OK. LOL.

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven


    At least there is a small amount of truth there about investigating the pumps. This probably goes back the the pump problems last year. The more they downplay the more I worry.

    I will add this information again, so anyone new learns the true danger of Tritium.

    “Radiological research has found a correlation between tritium and cumulative genetic injury. (21) There was found in successive generations a reduction in relative brain weight, reduction in litter size, and increased reabsorption of embryos. Correlations have been found in epidemiological research between tritium and Down’s’ Syndrome. Associations have also been found between low-level radiation and Down’s Syndrome.”

    “Tritium is essential to the construction of boosted-fission nuclear weapons. A boosted weapon contains a mixture of deuterium and tritium, the gases being heated and compressed by the detonation of a plutonium or uranium device. The D-T mixture is heated to a temperature and pressure such that thermonuclear fusion occurs. This process releases a flood of 14 MeV neutrons which cause additional fissions in the device, greatly increasing its efficiency.”

    Even NASA knows how long Tritium stays in the ocean. Guess they don’t just get mixed in & dilute too well huh?

    Radioactive tritium became a perfect marker for tracking ocean water §. Scientists sampling North Atlantic water found that tritium released into the atmosphere before the 1962 nuclear test ban treaty, mixed downward by 1973. By 1980, the same tritium had moved into deep areas off Florida. The water had taken about 20 years to travel 3000 miles (4800 km) through the sea at an average speed of less than half a mile a day, about half the speed of a snail §.

    If I miss any posts PLEASE copy those 3 reports in the comments.

  • yes, very worrisome. the downplay and dancing makes it so much more difficult to get through to people.

  • James2

    This article is very strange.

    First they said the release was caused by a power outage – an electrical insulator failure – that mean a short, which caused a power outage.

    OK, but now they are talking about pumps. But not pumps failing – pumps failing to shut off!

    Apparently somebody expected the pumps not to come back on after power was restored, but they did and that caused the radiation release.

    Blaming it on a faulty undervoltage system seems like a fib to me. An undervoltage system is designed to keep the motor from burning up when line voltage drops to a dangerous level – however a power outage isn’t undervoltage, it’s zero voltage.

    Sounds to me like operator error not pump error.

    I’m amazed that the reporters asked no questions. They must have written the article from a press release or something.

    Doesn’t anybody want to see a diagram of what happened? The level of secrecy and outright lies is insane…

  • exnavynuc exnavynuc

    James2, dont you know, this is a national security issue, and you do not have the right to know, slow release of information will avoid a panic. They know whats best for us, they are experts.

    • James2

      Well, there is only one scenario under which we are actually more secure when they withhold information. And that scenario is that the damage has been done and we are all dead men walking. Life on the planet is extinct and it’s just going to take time for the dominos to fall.

      That’s the only situation in which that claim is valid.

      For all other situations, withholding information is detrimental to national security – and also a felony offense.

      If there is any other way to argue it, I’d like to know – I probably won’t agree, but I’d like to understand the reasoning.

    • James2

      hey navynuc I have a question for you.

      Take a look at this video from resident video expert Nuckelchen.

      It clearly shows nuclear reactions jumping from the nuclear burning pit and setting off reactions all over the plant. How is this possible? and at what distance is it possible. do you have that kind of knowledge? Thanks James

  • James2

    You want to get really scared watch this one, and tell me what that sucker is:

  • exnavynuc exnavynuc

    James, It was 20 plus years ago when I was doing this stuff. As far as I can remember, we were never taught how a melted core would react, let alone 3 melted cores, see that was not possible because of all the safety precautions that were designed into the reactor. We all know how that worked out. As far as chain reactions of melted fuel, I dont see why it could not go critical if conditions are right, temp of water in basement (guessing that the melted fuel blob is somewhere there) the water acts as a moderator and slows neutrons down making it easier for a U atom to absorb then fission.