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Palisades nuclear reactor restarted after repairs to leaky tank

by
The Palisades Nuclear Plant on the Lakeshore in Covert Michigan.
The Palisades Nuclear Plant on the Lakeshore in Covert Michigan.

COVERT (WKZO) -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says that the Palisades Nuclear Plant has restarted under their supervision after repairs to a reoccurring leak in a huge water tank that sent water into the facility’s control room.

The Palisades staff restarted the reactor at 2:08 p.m. on Monday. It had been shut down since May 5th, when the leak from the tank exceeded agreed upon levels, and slightly radioactive water leaked into a retention pool, and was subsequently discharged into Lake Michigan.

The 300-thousand gallon tank is used during refueling operations and would also supply cooling water in case of an emergency shutdown.

After inspections, the decision was made to replace the bottom of the tank, which had sprung leaks more than once and resulted in the shutdown of the nuclear reactor before.

 The complete statement from the NRC appears below:

 

Palisades Tank Leak Repaired — Safe to Restart

by ModeratorPrema ChandrathilRegion III Public Affairs Officer

After intense NRC scrutiny that confirmed the plant is safe to operate, the Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan restarted Monday after more than a month shutdown.In total 10 NRC inspectors performed a wide range of inspections to ensure the leak in a refueling water tank, the reason for the shutdown, was fixed.Entergy employees identified a leak from the tank on May 5.The leak exceeded the level Entergy had committed to the NRC, which required the plant to shut down to ensure structural integrity of the tank.The tank is used during refueling outages and to supply water to the reactor during emergencies. It has leaked before. That’s one reason why, in a July 2012 letter, the plant made a commitment to measure and trend daily leakage from the tank, and shut down the plant if the leak exceeded certain limits.The NRC responded quickly once the leak was reported. The resident inspectors headed into the plant that Sunday, May 5, to closely follow Entergy’s actions to shut down the plant and inspect their efforts to identify the leak. We also sent a specialist with a background in materials engineering to further inspect the plant’s detailed actions to identify and repair the leak.And we had additional inspectors review and assess the plant’s test and repair plan, look into the area beneath the tank, understand and analyze the stresses on the tank, review the root cause of the leak, and observe the actual welding and testing of the tank components.NRC’s Region III also continued our commitment to openness and transparency by publicly documenting phone call discussions between Entergy and NRC management on this issue. Additionally, the region held a webinar on radioactive releases during which Region III staff addressed the public’s questions and concerns about the tank leak. More than 70 people participated in the webinar.Going forward, the NRC will continue to make sure the tank remains safe. We will independently inspect the areas around the tank where leaks can be identified and will follow Entergy’s actions to monitor the tank. If small leaks are discovered we expect Entergy to evaluate them according to the NRC’s rules, and take appropriate action.We have received dozens of calls and inquiries about this issue. We want to assure you that the public and plant workers continue to be safe. We remain committed to being open and transparent about issues of concern to the local public. To that end, we will hold an internet event to discuss NRC regulations regarding this tank and why Palisades was safe to restart. Once a date has been determined details will be posted on the NRC website.  

 

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