Controlled shutdown of nuclear reactor probed; no radiation released : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Controlled shutdown of nuclear reactor probed; no radiation released

The Associated Press 01/21/00 2:51 PM Eastern

FORKED RIVER, N.J. (AP) -- Managers at the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station were investigating why pumps that recirculate water through the reactor core automatically shut down Friday morning, triggering a controlled shutdown of the reactor.

GPU Nuclear Inc., which operates the 30-year-old nuclear reactor, said no radiation was released and no one was injured when the controlled shutdown occurred at 10:48 a.m.

"At this point in time, we need to troubleshoot," said GPU Nuclear spokeswoman Suzanne D'Ambrosio. "It's really a little early to pinpoint any" cause.

The plant had been operating at a reduced level, about 65 percent power, so operators could perform routine quarterly plant testing. During testing Friday morning of instrumentation that monitors operation of the reactor's five recirculation pumps, one of the instruments erroneously signaled the pumps to stop. Operators then immediately shut down the reactor as required.

D'Ambrosio said the plant immediately notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, state environmental and utility officials, and local authorities.

The plant will remain off-line until the cause of the faulty signal is determined.

Prior to Friday's shutdown, the plant had been online for a record 434 straight days.

GPU Nuclear operates Oyster Creek for owner Jersey Central Power & Light Co., which does business as GPU Energy and is selling the plant.

AmerGen Energy Inc., a joint venture of Philadelphia-based PECO Energy Co. and British Energy Co. of Edinburgh, Scotland, plans to close on its $10 million purchase of the plant by spring, although approval from state and federal agencies is still needed.

AmerGen recently notified employees that after the purchase staff will be cut about 10 percent, all from departments unrelated to the plant's physical operations.

AmerGen plans to operate the plant until its license expires in 2009.

GPU originally planned to close the facility this fall if it didn't find a buyer. At one point, the asking price was $700 million.

-- Homer Beanfang (, January 21, 2000



Thanks for the post...glad I changed my mind about purchasing the facility. ;-)

-- Dee (, January 21, 2000.

John Krempasky:

Before you come to this thread and post another account of how normal all these shuttdowns are, could you please tell me if this is the normal number of accidental (unplanned) shutdowns? I've asked you this question repeatedly. If you responded to it, I apologize, but I haven't seen your response.

To restate: Yes I understand that the number of shutdowns that are now occuring is not greater then some other peaks or periods. But as far as I can tell, those other periods were mostly 'planned' shutdowns or power reductions. This period seems largely, even unparalleledly, 'unplanned'.

Also, you never addressed what your background or interest in this issue is based upon -- I must admit that I have a small bit cynicism in my outlook when it comes to 'big money' or 'big power'. Thank you for your patience on this, John.

-- tim phronesia (, January 21, 2000.

"At this point in time, we need to troubleshoot,"

The dude said they have NO CLUE WHY this happened, so clearly John that means they have NO CLUE why this happened.

-- Hokie (, January 21, 2000.

controlled shut downs of various systems is a normal event at pwer plants.....get a life please

-- jim sullivan (, January 21, 2000.

If there's anything worse than a paranoid who monitors the news for confirmation of his worst fears, its a cynic who monitors the paranoids who monitor the news ... in order to satisfy himself he has more of a life than they do. But he doesn't.


-- Squirrel Hunter (nuts@upina.cellrelaytower), January 21, 2000.

"GPU Nuclear Inc., which operates the 30-year-old nuclear reactor, said no radiation was released"

And if there WAS radiation released do you think they would tell us, so that they could get sued by everyone within 100 miles?

"If you live within 50 miles of a nuke plant, you're toast"

-- Hawk (flyin@high.again), January 21, 2000.

(Updated from an earlier post):

From the Plant Status Reports, Daily Events Reports, and Headquarters Reports, here is my count of January 2000 reactor shutdowns for reasons other than refueling outages (apologies in advance if the format is screwed):

1/3/2000 Oconee 3: Hot Standby, Reactor Trip, 0% power

1/5/2000 Duane Arnold 1: Hot Shutdown, Reactor Scram, 0% power

1/5/2000 Paulo Verde 2: Hot Standby, Maintenance Outage, 0% power

1/6/2000 Salem 1: Hot Standby, Manual Reactor Trip, 0% power

1/7/2000 Arkansas Nuclear 1: Hot Shutdown, Maintenance Outage, 0% power (see note below)

1/8/2000 Cooper 1: Cold Shutdown, Aux cooling system leak, 0% power (see note below)

1/8/2000 Limerick 2: Hot Shutdown, Automatic Reactor Scram, 0% power

1/9/2000 Seabrook 1: Hot Standby, reason not listed, 0% power. (see note below)

1/13/2000 Byron 2: Hot Standby, generator trip/turbine trip/reactor trip, 0% power

1/14/2000 Calvert Cliffs 1: Hot Standby, Reactor Trip, 0% power

1/18/2000 Sequoyah 2: Hot Standby, Reactor Trip, 0% power.

1/20/2000 Point Beach 1: Hot Standby, Manual Reactor Trip, 0% power.

1/21/2000 Oyster Creek 1: Hot Standby, Manual Reactor Trip, 0% power

I have not completed the count of non-refuel related shutdowns for the past year, but here is what I have counted:

Dec98: 9 shutdowns

Jan99: 7 shutdowns

Feb99: 4 shutdowns

Mar99: 6 shutdowns


Dec99: 8 shutdowns (including 3 between 12/28 and 12/31)

Jan00: 13 shutdowns as of 1/21/2000

Admittedly, I may have missed a few, and all of the data is not in yet. But at first glance, Jan2000 appears to be a banner month for unplanned nuclear plant shutdowns. And, although I haven't done the statistical analysis to back it up yet, it appears to me that a "cluster" of failures has occurred from 1/5 to 1/9. Any stats wizzes out there?


About Arkansas Nuclear 1:

From (Headquarters Report):




On January 7, 2000, ANO, Unit 1, was shutdown to repair a small lubricating oil leak on RCP D. On January 8, RCP D was secured for work on the lube oil system. When the pump was secured, the Senior Resident Inspector observed the pump shaft rotate in the reverse direction for about 3 seconds until a relatively loud noise was heard, and then the pump shaft stopped. The noise coincided with the engagement of the anti-rotation device. Subsequently, broken parts of the anti-rotation device were found by the licensee. ANO Unit 1 remains shutdown pending installation of a temporary alteration on the RCP. This alteration will be designed to prevent pump rotation in either direction. Installation of the alteration will allow the licensee to restart the unit operating only 3 of the 4 RCPs. The unit is licensed and has performed the appropriate accident analyses for operation in this configuration. In addition, training of the on-shift crews has begun for this abnormal plant configuration."

About Cooper 1:

From (Headquarters Report):



At about 11:00 a.m. on January 7, Cooper operators began a controlled power reduction to 12 percent power in response to increasing leakage from the reactor equipment cooling system. On January 8 at 1:30 a.m., operators entered containment but could not locate the leak. The operators continued the planned shutdown by manually scramming the reactor just before noon on January 8, 2000. After the shutdown, workers found the leak in the 'C' containment fan cooler, one of four containment fan coolers, and isolated its supply of reactor equipment cooling, leaving three coolers in service. The containment fan coolers do not perform any safety-related function, and licensee analysis of operating requirements for containment cooling supports operation with as few as two of the four coolers. Plant management planned to restart the unit upon completion of repairs."


About Seabrook 1: Although listed in the Plant Status Report, dated 1/ 10/99, I can find no other information on this event in either the Daily Events Report or the Headquarters Report. Since the event occured over a weekend, I suppose the report could have slipped through the cracks of NRC bureaucracy. I am including it because it does not appear to be a planned shutdown.


-- Spindoc' (, January 22, 2000.

For a backgroud paper on "Y2K & Nuclear Reactor Safety" see:

'..the definitive and current paper on Y2K and Nuke Safety."

-- ICE Just4U (, January 22, 2000.

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