Report: Wave took out 5 of 6 critical pumps that cool reactor at NJ’s Salem nuke plant — Still operating on emergency cooling — NRC yet to inform public — At 100% power when Sandy hit

Published: November 1st, 2012 at 12:30 pm ET
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Title: Salem Nuclear Plant Still Offline, Broken Water Pumps
Source: SimplyInfo
Date: Nov. 1, 2012
h/t Anonymous tip

We reported last night that the Salem nuclear plant didn’t just suffer water intakes clogged with debris from Hurricane Sandy but a wave also took out 5 of the 6 critical water pumps. These pumps pull water from the river to cool the reactor. Five pumps were damaged, the operator was in the process of repairing those pumps. [...]

As of November 1st there has been no unusual event declared and the NRC has not informed the public of the broken water pumps that feed water to cool the reactor. Salem is still operating on emergency cooling systems. The Platts report is the only mention of what is going on at the plant. The plant operator has not given the public this information, only industry insiders like Platts have had this knowledge. [...]

PSEG ran Salem unit 1 at 100% power as Sandy hit knowing full well that it was a sure thing that the intakes would be clogged requiring the reactor to go into emergency shutdown. instead of reducing power as some of the other nearby reactors did, PSEG chose the far riskier option of running at full power and play a game of chicken with a hurricane. [...]

Platts: There is no estimate of when Salem-1 will return to service, PSEG Nuclear spokesman Joseph Delmar said in an email Wednesday morning. [...] Waves hit the plant’s circulating water building, requiring the shutdown, PSEG Nuclear chairman and CEO Ralph Izzo said during a press teleconference Wednesday morning. One of five pumps has been repaired, and the other four are expected to be repaired Wednesday, Izzo said. He did not say when Salem-1 is expected to return to service.

See also: Feds: "Atmospheric steam dump" at New Jersey nuclear plant -- All 6 circulators lost at Salem due to debris, high river level

Published: November 1st, 2012 at 12:30 pm ET
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17 comments

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17 comments to Report: Wave took out 5 of 6 critical pumps that cool reactor at NJ’s Salem nuke plant — Still operating on emergency cooling — NRC yet to inform public — At 100% power when Sandy hit

  • harengus_acidophilus

    Greed outranks brain!
    Again and again and again…

    Maybe it's better to terminate mankind.
    DNA will survive…

    h.


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    • DisasterInterpretationDissorder DisasterInterpretationDissorder

      Hi harengus Nope , its not , i used to think like that but nuclear changed all the rules . The melting and spreading of all nuclear reactor's in one big chainreaction and bombs and waste later leaking and all will sterilise our Mother in to oblivion.
      Global warming out of control , biosphere could be gone , heating up untill we are as hot as Venus. Those extremofiels deep down in the volcano or somewhere protected from the radiation or some that can live in highly radioactif conditions will maybe singing their lifesong for a while longer, but eventually the heat will gets them too. We will lay around fossilised for a while , no decay because no life left to use us as energy . And then very slowly turn to dust , radioactif dust . Yeey .

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjrthOPLAKM&feature=player_embedded :)


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  • [Salem Reactor] "NRC has not informed (failed) the public of the broken water pumps that feed water to cool the reactor."

    I am sure it just a small oversight. [sarcasm]

    Here's majia's observation about 'reporting' of Nuclear Events.
    (see full report)
    http://enenews.com/incredible-devastation-seen-near-nj-nuclear-plant-in-new-aerial-footage-from-air-force-video/comment-page-1#comment-300281


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    • [WSJ noted]
      "…tritium was released from a reactor in Salem – tritium is a beta emitter that has dangerous biological effects."
      – from majia's blog

      This is what the public, especially those near Salem, need to know.


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      • lam335 lam335

        First, they should be sued for negligence. They knew this was coming and still chose to operate at full power, and as a result had to vent tritium-laced steam.

        Second, there needs to be a law that FORCES these plants to SHUT DOWN when a MAJOR weather event like this is KNOWN to be heading in its direction. This could very easily have become a melt-down situation. The plant operators "discretion" cannot be relied upon for responsible decisions in these situations; their chief concern is with not losing short-term profits. They must be forced to take the responsible course when these "acts of nature" are headed their way, and face severe penalties if they don't comply .


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  • guezilla

    Still quite vague… In fact we've known since the NRC event notification that Salem 1 lost ALL 6 "condenser circulators", that's what they say. "A subsequent loss of the 2 remaining circulators required transition of decay heat removal from condenser steam dumps to the 11-14 MS10s (atmospheric steam dump)." All of them.
    The problem is we don't exactly know what they mean by "condenser circulators" in this context. A google search on "condenser circulator" doesn't appear to bring up anything relevant. I'm guessing SimplyInfo information is correct, and this means pumps circulating the non-condensibles, ie. river water. This makes the most sense, as river debris will affect them most. At this point I do not believe there is a huge difference between complete clogging of water intakes and losing the circulators; both will result in loss of condenser function and be impossible to fix while the reactor is running.


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    • guezilla

      A Pressurized Water Reactor is designed to be able to shut down without the main feedwater, though it is definitely not desirable situation, and they maintain auxiliary feedwater in huge tanks for this purpose. NRC regulations make a big deal about whether main feedwater can be returned within 30 minutes, which was obviously not the case here. I remain more concerned with the report of a turbine loop overpressure relief disk rupture which to me suggests the shutdown was anomalous, and that according to the NRC event notification the reactor was kept at hot standby rather than going for a cold shutdown.


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    • guezilla

      And an oldie, but goodie http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/11/nyregion/11salem.html

      "In March [2004], the consultants hired to evaluate the plant [at Salem] added to the list of problems: emergency diesel generators had 160 backlogged maintenance orders, some older than 18 months; water circulation pumps repeatedly failed; workers complained of "oil leaks and roof leaks"; hydraulic systems used to move the control rods inside one reactor leaked; fumes from one generator were so bad that workers nearby had to wear breathing masks; and engineers were forced to bypass nine nonworking sensors used to measure the reaction in the nuclear core because there were no replacement parts."

      But don't fret – managers found things were worse at about a quarter of the nation's plants. Sounds like they haven't improved the circulation pumps since then, though.


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  • jump-ball

    Morningstar reassures utility investors by describing how "severe earnings (and) cash hits after Sandy" will be billed over several years to customers, and customers will be charged fees above what their usage-rate bills would have been. Bookeeping like this during the upcoming years of an ongoing credit contraction, look to me like an earnings meltdown hiding in plain sight:

    "…regulators will allow most of the affected utilities to defer and later recover from customers most of the storm costs, resulting in minimal cash losses. If bills become extreme, regulators might also allow securitization. Usage-decoupled rates at hardest-hit ConEd should minimize its outage-related revenue losses…":

    http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=572970


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    • Radio VicFromOregon

      And, this is how we shut down 1 operating reactor, 2 built reactors and three reactors with already poured foundations in the Pacific NW. Well, lots of protest, arrests, gaining political support, but, ultimately, the rate payers, once they found they would be paying for the companies losses through these fee increases through a back door, voted these guys out of the region with a ballot referendum. It wasn't personal safety concerns that moved the rate payers, it was the hidden fees issue on top of the various other risks. This is such an effective angle to take for public antinuke actions, especially in those areas where rate payers will be unwittingly paying for company mistakes.


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    East Coast is littered with nuclear plants which need to be replaced with clean/safe non-nuclear ones. It'll create jobs, the next President should initiate this, Jan 2013.


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    • moonshellblue moonshellblue

      Yes it is I live within 100 mile of five nuke plants and that is why there is always a high CPM reading along the east coast of about 60 CPM. Check radiation network. Unreal how high background reading are along the NE coast. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the destruction of NYC and NJ. The places I use to frequent and enjoy in my youth no longer exist. We were lucky here in PA but my heart is breaking for all those who were not so fortunate. Sorry off topic


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  • haizedustrium-1234 haizedustrium-1234

    http://geographyplanning.buffalostate.edu/2008%20MSG/1%20final%20Word%20files%20&%20PDFs/5_Conlow.pdf5_Conlow
    Not very long ago evacuation was already seen a possible problem.
    How fear mongered can you be when several problems don’t justify an evacuation or shut down, yet believe that the evacuation will be called in time without any incident or accident which cannot be fully reversed, compensated with restitution thereafter with no intervention required or any short or long term illness, discomfort or fatality.
    With all this abundance of pre-caution all cellphones, tabloids, notebooks, laptops, computers, automobiles, etc might soon be factory fitted with a five way gas and radioactivity panel controlled NORM sensor with a reset and disable button and setting.
    Forced evacuation drills was probably called off due to looting risks.


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  • Mack Mack

    NuclearCrimes.org Facebook page often has extra information and analysis on stories.

    There's some good information on Salem radioactive releases:

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/Friends-of-NuclearCrimesorg/205387476186190


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