Raleigh Nuke Shuts Down Yet AGAIN. Third shutdown in two months. Mood at plant "somber."

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Here we go again. After no shutdowns since 1995, the Shearon Harris plant suffered its third shutdown in less than 2 months on Friday March 12. For accuracy, please note that the first and third shutdowns were unplanned automatic shutdowns. The second incident, a March 7 incident which I reported on just days ago, was not technically a shutdown, but the plant was operated at 3% of capacity as a result of a valve failure which occurred as workers were investigating another failed valve.

According to todays News & Observer, "Employees . . . are trying to figure out why their reactor suffered a second unplanned shutdown in less than two months."

The article states ". . .the mood at the site was somber as workers and management wondered whether the string of recent mishaps is coincidental or a sign of a deeper problem."

Articles on the earlier mishaps pointed out that the plant had no automatic shutdowns since 1995. Somewhat strangely, as the accident rate rises, the N&O decides to put in a little spin stating the plant ". . . had not had an unplanned shutdown for more than a year until January and is considered one of the most well-run plants in the country." Why the decreased focus in the face of increasing problems?

Is this post off topic? You tell me.

-- Puddintame (dit@dot.com), March 16, 1999


For references to threads on the first two shutdowns, see


-- Puddintame (dit@dot.com), March 16, 1999.

Also, please note the following cut&pasted thread from yesterday. I find it interesting that this thread was posted before I heard any news of the March 12 shutdown and it was bosted a number of hours before the N&O went to press.

*Paste* Puddintame, Just spoke to someone that audited the nuke plant by you. You just might want to inquire as to the audit from the public stand. There were two different nuke plant people in to do an external audit. And well, I was told things weren't as good as could have been. A bunch of arguments started. I couldn't be told about what, but just thought you would want to know. (The Raleigh Nuke Plant). If it isn't you... then it is Old Git.

-- (cannot-say@this.time), March 15, 1999

Answers Cannot, thanks for the heads up. I'm going to go to the public NRC site and see if I can get any information. There are others on this forum who are adept at cutting through the haze on these nuclear issues. I hope they'll chime in if they have anything to add.

-- Puddintame (dit@dot.com), March 15, 1999.

*end paste*

-- Puddintame (dit@dot.com), March 16, 1999.

I had been following your post with interest. Having been close associates with the construction crews and knowing 2 supervisors that were in on the construction of S. Harris, I had large reservations about the structure from those experiences in 1984 and 1985 after being privy to some less than stellar information.

I'll be trying to find sources of info along with you Puddintame. Kudos for the investigation and eye for the articles in N&O. I don't get it (N&O) out here in Franklin. Neighbors keep runnig off with the copies since the mailbox is 1/2 mile away from our house and drivers won't deliver down here... (can't say as I blame them - lol).

Mr. K

-- Mr. Kennedy (staying@home.org), March 16, 1999.


I will do my best to try to find out what was uncovered in the audit. However, I doubt that the information will come, due to the nuclear status and all. I will try, but cannot guarantee anything. I for one didn't like the nervous laugh/sigh that I heard. I do know that the arguments were a little *heated*. I know that the people brought in were there to confirm what the Raleigh people had done was correct, but when problems were found, they didn't want to hear about it and argued that they were correct. Guess they didn't get their outside confirmation.

Sometimes, a no answer says more than words can say.

-- (cannot-say@this.time), March 16, 1999.

Thanks for digging, Puddintame and Cannot-say. Have cut and pasted thread and sent to reporter friends. Will let you know what (if anything--you know those editors!) happens. Never mind Y2K--what about AC this summer here in Durham???!!!

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), March 16, 1999.

How people can read stories like these and not understand that we are in deep shit is beyond me. Maybe it's my front row seat that makes the difference.

-- a (a@a.a), March 16, 1999.

Here is a copy of the daily incident report that went to the NRC. URL will follow. +--------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------+ |Power Reactor |Event Number: 35462 | +--------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------+ +--------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------+ | FACILITY: HARRIS REGION: 2 |NOTIFICATION DATE: 03/12/1999| | UNIT: [1] [] [] STATE: NC |NOTIFICATION TIME: 09:48[EST]| | RXTYPE: [1] W-3-LP |EVENT DATE: 03/12/1999| +------------------------------------------------+EVENT TIME: 06:39[EST]| | NRC NOTIFIED BY: KEITH HOLBROOK |LAST UPDATE DATE: 03/12/1999| | HQ OPS OFFICER: JOHN MacKINNON +-----------------------------+ +------------------------------------------------+PERSON ORGANIZATION | |EMERGENCY CLASS: N/A |EDWARD MCALPINE R2 | |10 CFR SECTION: | | |ARPS 50.72(b)(2)(ii) RPS ACTUATION | | |AESF 50.72(b)(2)(ii) ESF ACTUATION | | | | | | | | +-----+----------+-------+--------+-----------------+--------+-------- ---------+ |UNIT |SCRAM CODE|RX CRIT|INIT PWR| INIT RX MODE |CURR PWR| CURR RX MODE | +-----+----------+-------+--------+-----------------+--------+-------- ---------+ |1 A/R Y 100 Power Operation |0 Hot Standby | | | | | | | +--------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------+ EVENT TEXT +--------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------+ | AUTOMATIC REACTOR TRIP DUE TO TURBINE TRIP AND MAIN FEEDWATER ISOLATION | | CAUSED BY HIGH STEAM GENERATOR WATER LEVEL. | | | | This is a report of the following actuations: ESF-P-14, Turbine Trip and | | Main Feedwater Isolation; auxiliary feedwater actuation; and a reactor | | trip. | | | | A loss of control of the "C" feed regulating valve caused steam generator | | water level to increase. Operators attempted to take manual control but had | | very little control from the main control room. The steam generator water | | level exceeded the 82.4% high steam generator water level trip setpoint | | causing a P-14 (steam generator high level override) actuation. This | | actuation resulted in a turbine trip/reactor trip and a loss of both running | | main feedwater pumps. It also caused all main feedwater isolation valves to | | close. All control rods fully inserted. No primary/secondary plant code | | safety valves or power-operated relief valves opened. Both motor-driven and | | the turbine-driven auxiliary feedwater pumps automatically started on low | | steam generator water level following the reactor trip. The steam dump | | bypass control system is operating properly and is maintaining a T(ave) of | | 557~F. At the present time, steam generator water levels are being | | maintained by one operating motor-driven auxiliary feedwater pump. | | Troubleshooting is in progress to determine the failure of "C" feedwater | | regulating valve (air-operated valve). | | | | The offsite electrical grid is stable, and all emergency core cooling | | systems and the emergency diesel generators are fully operable if needed. | | | | The NRC resident inspector was notified of this event by the licensee. | +--------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------+

-- ~~~~ (~~~~@~.~), March 16, 1999.

http://www.nrc.gov/OPA/ Here is the URL for the NRC web-site that contains the event reports. Sorry about the bad formatting on my previous cut and paste.

-- ~~~~ (~~~~@~.~), March 16, 1999.

Thanks for that event report double dash. Now get this, I'm looking for that event report and I come across this:

COURTESY NOTIFICATION REGARDING A FATALITY WITHIN THE OWNER CONTROLLED AREA | | OUTSIDE THE 1,400-FOOT | The following text is a portion of a facsimile received from the licensee "At approximately 2212 on 03/15/99, Robinson Security [personnel] notified the Control Room of an automobile with a fatality on the West Entrance Road access to the plant outside the site boundary. The cause of the fatality is unknown, and this occurrence is being investigated by local law enforcement agencies and the State Law Enforcement Division. Due to the fatality occurring off-site, but on CP&L property adjacent to the site boundary, and [due to] the interaction of several off-site agencies responding to the scene, the NRC Operations Center is being notified as a courtesy. This call is for informational purposes only and does not fall within the reporting criteria of 10 CFR 2." The licensee notified the NRC resident inspector. The licensee does not plan to issue a press release.

End Paste

So now they're finding dead people in cars at the site entrance. Is this going to get any weirder? Does anyone remember hearing about this one on the news? I don't.

-- Puddintame (dit@dot.com), March 16, 1999.

Loss of feedwater reg valve, trip on high water level, couldn't maintain control from the control room -> shutdown, investigate, find and fix - if possible. May be y2K related, may not be. Can't tell from this immediate level report.

Doesn't matter specifically, if thermal plants aren't getting these, one (or more) of several things are going on. Either they are fixing everything perfectly, or they are not yet fixing things at all, or they are not testing things perfectly, or they are not testing the things they fixed at all, or they are not testing anything at all, or they have perfect test plans and not making any mistakes in testing anywhere at all.

This is the kind of failure that I expect everywhere - nukes and thermal, the grid, chemical and refinery, shipping, handling, and loading - everywhere a controller senses something and is supposed to stop, start, or move soemthing else. Why do you think GM says Y2K could be catastrophic?

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), March 16, 1999.

Puddintame, boy, your eyes must have bugged out when you came across that notification! Wonder how much of a cover-up is being frenetically spun? Notice "The licensee does not plan to issue a press release." Utilities keeping ppl in the dark ... everything is so helter skelter. Stay safe, dear poster.

xxxxxxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxx

-- Leska (allaha@earthlink.net), March 16, 1999.

Sounds like they averted disaster by the skin of one auxillary pump. Clearly, something went seriously wrong if they lost operating room control. I bet they had to scurry somewhere to manually get the auxillary going. Sounds like a cascading failure... very interesting.

-- RD. ->H (drherr@erols.com), March 16, 1999.

Given the Imfo posted I don't think it was a Y2K problem. Although my concern in this matter is that with the Y2K problems that may arise the automatic shutdowns will fail to trip causing an old fashion Chernoble effect.

-- V (val@valkov.mal), March 17, 1999.

The above should be: "...preventing the Chernobyl effect."

At Chernobyl, the Russians shut off the safety devices and by-passed others, then deliberately operated the plant dangerously so they could run the unapproved "test" - if they followed their own rules, they could NOT have broken the plant.

It's just a minor difference.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), March 17, 1999.

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