September 27, 2011 / by emptywheel


Sucking Tritium

That would be me, sucking tritium, living as I do about 70 miles away from a nuclear plant in South Haven, MI, that just released some radioactive steam. (h/t wizardkitten)

Entergy’s Palisades nuclear plant near South Haven is venting radioactive steam into the environment as part of an unplanned shutdown triggered by an electrical accident.

This shutdown, which began Sunday evening, came just five days after the plant restarted from a shutdown that was caused by a leak in the plant’s cooling system.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Prema Chandrithal said that the current shutdown happened because an object slipped during work on a circuit breaker and caused an arc that took out power for one of two DC electrical systems that power safety valves and other devices.

So last week, they shut down because of a leak in the cooling system.

The Palisades nuclear power plant was shut down Friday afternoon after a water leak of more than 10 gallons per minute was detected in the system that cools the plant’s nuclear reactor.

The plant was shut down shortly before 3 p.m. because the leak exceeded the plant’s technical specifications, spokesman Mark Savage said. The plant filed a notification of an “unusual event” with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The likely cause of the problem is a leak on a valve in the primary cooling system, but that won’t be known for certain until workers can get in and do a thorough evaluation, Savage said.

So as part of their attempt to fix that problem, they dropped something (I’m envisioning Homer Simpson dropping a wrench and knocking out power), which cut off power to some safety valves, which resulted in radioactive steam upwind (but also south) from me.

Um, isn’t this power plant supposed to have redundant backup electrical systems? You know? The ones we checked after Fukushima reminded us this stuff isn’t child’s play?

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