bomb cyclone, Boston, Browns Ferry, Brunswick, coastal flooding, Cooper Nuclear, dangers of nuclear, emergency services, environment, flooding, Leak, loss of cooling, loss of offsite response, loss of power, Massachusetts, Nor'easter, NRC, nuclear, nuclear disaster, Nuclear Emergency, nuclear energy, nuclear power, nuclear reactor cooling, nuclear reactors, nuclear safety, nuclear waste, nuclear waste cooling, Offsite respone, Pilgrim leak, Pilgrim nuclear elevation, Pilgrim shutdown, plymouth, Power Outages, Price Anderson, radioactive waste, risk management, snow, Storm Surge, US, US NRC, USA, Valve defect, water, wind, Winter Storm Riley
Entergy-Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station brazenly kept operating at 100% during Winter Storm Riley, even though they had a forced shutdown during Winter Storm Grayson and in the event of a nuclear emergency access would be impeded and evacuation of the area would be impossible due to storm conditions. Emergency services would impeded or impossible. Almost 12 hours after NASA tweeted at 12:42 pm that “This storm is slamming the East Coast with intense winds, snow, rain and hail…” https://twitter.com/NASA/status/969628945309159425, Pilgrim-Entergy noticed a problem, as reported to the US NRC, but blew it off: “At 2315 EST on March 2, 2018, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (PNPS) determined, based on information received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that there may be a potential loss of offsite response capabilities due to ongoing severe natural hazard conditions (i.e., major winter storm) along the coast of Massachusetts…. There is no condition at the Station that would warrant implementation of any emergency plan at this time…” https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2018/20180305en.html. They were late figuring this out, because this was known, and announced, well in advance. But, did they take action and start powering down the nuclear power station as a precautionary measure? No, they did not, probably because Price Anderson shields them from liability, plus the owner, Entergy is based far away in the Big Easy (New Orleans, Louisiana), with the nuclear division in Jackson Mississippi. Powering down means loss of profit and Price Anderson limits their liability: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/price-anderson-act-billions-in-bailout-for-nuclear-disasters/
With Winter Storm Riley came sustained winds of tropical storm force at 50 mph and gusts at hurricane strength of 85 mph in the area of the Plymouth Nuclear Power Station (near Plymouth Mass) and flooding in the area. There were widespread power outages, as might be expected. According to the US NRC: “The availability of ac power to commercial nuclear power plants is essential for safe operations and accident recovery. A loss of offsite power (LOOP) event, therefore, is an important contributor to total risk at nuclear power plants.” http://nrcoe.inel.gov/resultsdb/LOSP/ http://nrcoe.inel.gov/resultsdb/publicdocs/LOSP/loop-glossary.pdf
Then lo and behold on Tuesday, less than a week later, they started shutting-down because of an apparent water leak: “Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station powering down for possible leak in heating system –capecodtimes. com – By Christine Legere Posted Mar 6, 2018 at 10:25 AM Updated Mar 6, 2018 at 11:48 AM Operators at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station were in the process of shutting down the reactor Tuesday due to a possible leak in the feedwater heating system.”
It appears that a possible valve defect was known about by Crane Nuclear and/or the US NRC and/or Entergy-Pilgrim well before the two “bomb cyclones” Grayson and Riley.
And, lo and behold on Wednesday, with Pilgrim reporting at 0% output to the grid, the US NRC posted the following (notice that this was known for Brunswick in mid December, and therefore Crane Nuclear should have known from their records and most likely the US NRC and Entergy Pilgrim should have known):
“PART 21 – UNDERSIZED PACKING GLANDS IN CERTAIN CRANE GATE VALVES
On 12/17/17, Brunswick Nuclear Plant experienced a packing gland blowout on an in-service Crane Nuclear, Inc., Figure Number 83 1/2 SPL, 10 inch by 8 inch by 10 inch, Bolted Bonnet Gate Valve. Crane Nuclear determined that component drawings for the 10 inch valve as well as the 6 inch by 4 inch by 6 inch Bolted Bonnet Gate Valve were in error. That error was corrected. Crane Nuclear is recommending that affected licensees replace the packing glands of the affected valves in their possession. The affected licensees are Pilgrim Station, Cooper Nuclear Station, Browns Ferry Nuclear, and Brunswick Nuclear.” https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2018/20180307en.html
Importance: “Because of thermal expansion, water heated while trapped in closed piping is capable of producing extremely high pressures. This phenomenon is typically a design consideration. Piping design codes as far back as USAS B31.1 have required consideration of fluid pressure caused by heating of fluid trapped between two valves. The potential for thermally induced expansion of fluid trapped in valve bonnets was one reason for issuing Generic Letter 95-07, “Pressure Locking and Thermal Binding of Safety-Related Power-Operated Gate Valves.” In addition, several information notices have been issued discussing pressurization of water trapped in valve bonnets. The potential for failure of systems to perform their safety functions as a result of thermally-induced overpressurization is dependent on many factors. These factors include leak-tightness of valve seats, bonnets, packing glands and flange gaskets; piping and component material properties, location and geometry; ambient and post-accident temperature response; pipe fracture mechanisms; fan coastdown characteristics and the effect of fan operation on . IN 96-49 August 20, 1996 Page 3 of 3 ” https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/info-notices/1996/in96049.html
Although warned well in advance, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (Entergy) announced only at the end of the worst storm day that there could be a problem! Did Entergy get confused and shut down one of their Louisiana reactors instead? River Bend?: https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/reactor-status/PowerReactorStatusForLast365Days.txt https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2018/20180202en.html Unlike Pilgrim which is shutting down soon, Entergy is trying to relicense River Bend even though it has trouble operating at all: https://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/licensing/renewal/applications/river-bend.html
During the January “Bomb Cyclone” Storm Grayson, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station, which is not very far from Boston Mass: “On January 4, 2018, at 1410 hours EST, with the reactor at approximately 100 percent power and steady state conditions, the winter storm across the Northeast caused the loss of offsite 345 kV Line 342. Reactor power was reduced to approximately 81 percent and a procedurally required manual reactor scram was initiated. All control rods fully inserted…..“As a result of the reactor scram, indicated reactor water level decreased, as expected, to less than +12 inches resulting in automatic actuation of the Primary Containment Isolation Systems for Group II – Primary Containment Isolation and Reactor Building Isolation System, and Group VI – Reactor Water Cleanup System…. Offsite power is still available from 345kV line 355. As a contingency, emergency diesel generators are running and powering safety busses per licensee procedure,…” https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2018/20180105en.html It took around a week to be back at 100% power after Storm Grayson: https://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/reactor-status/PowerReactorStatusForLast365Days.txt
Not only dangerous, nuclear power stations are unreliable electicity sources in severe and extreme weather. Worse, they require energy input for cooling, so as not to meltdown and so in the event of power outages to the nuclear power station itself, backup generators will be needed. Even though they can’t be turned off, they are supposed to be powered down in a safe orderly manner before the arrival of extreme weather.
“POTENTIAL LOSS OF OFFSITE RESPONSE CAPABILITIES
“At 2315 EST on March 2, 2018, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (PNPS) determined, based on information received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that there may be a potential loss of offsite response capabilities due to ongoing severe natural hazard conditions (i.e., major winter storm) along the coast of Massachusetts. According to information received by PNPS, towns within the 10 Mile EP Radius could be hampered in implementing some protective actions specified in the emergency plan in the unlikely event an emergency were to occur. There is no condition at the Station that would warrant implementation of any emergency plan at this time. PNPS continues to operate safely and is monitoring the weather conditions closely. The Station maintains emergency assessment, response, and communication capability.
“This report is being made conservatively in accordance with 10 CFR 50.72(b)(3)(xiii) which is any event that results in a major loss of emergency assessment capability, offsite response capability, or offsite communications capability. As stated previously, the Station maintains emergency assessment, response, and communication capability. “The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.”
Hurricanes are sustained winds of 74 mph: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saffir–Simpson_scale
“Plymouth storm update: Warren Avenue closed, Plymouth Rock under water” By Rich Harbert Posted Mar 2, 2018 at 10:45 AM Updated Mar 2, 2018 at 11:00 AM http://plymouth.wickedlocal.com/news/20180302/plymouth-storm-update-warren-avenue-closed-plymouth-rock-under-water
13.5 ft mean sea level storm surge is the design basis. The power block is at 22 ft MSL and the building floor elevation at 23 ft MSL https://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1417/ML14171A200.pdf This is probably based on original designs and may not be updated for subsidence nor for changes in MSL.
The highest tide for Storm Riley in the area of Plymouth Nuclear Power Station appears to have been around 14.5 to 15 ft.
According to Entergy “Site Elevation is generally 23′ above Mean Sea Level (MSL) – The lowest paved surface elevation located on the eastern most edge of the property behind the Fire Water Storage tanks is 21.5′ above MSL. – Top of Breakwater is 11.2′ above MSL – Existing ISFSI pad is at elevation 25′ above MSL – Existing ISFSI pad is approximately 200 feet from the shoreline. For the January 4th Winter Storm Grayson, “The maximum measured tide level was 13.5′ above MSL as recorded by site instrumentation” https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2018/02/23/pilgrim-ndcap-presentation-february-21-2018.pdf
“HIGH PRESSURE COOLANT INJECTION (HPCI) SYSTEM DECLARED INOPERABLE
“On December 17, 2017, at 0316 Eastern Standard Time (EST) the Unit 2 HPCI system was isolated and declared inoperable due to a packing failure of the HPCI Turbine Steam Supply Valve (i.e., 2-E41-F001). Isolation of the HPCI system due to the packing failure prevents the HPCI system from performing its design safety function. As such, this event is being reported in accordance with 10 CFR 50.72(b)(3)(v)(D) as a condition that at the time of discovery could have prevented the fulfillment of the safety function of a system that is needed to mitigate the consequences of an accident. “Unit 2 HPCI system has been isolated and depressurized. The HPCI system will remain inoperable until the valve can be repaired. “The safety significance of this condition is minimal. All other Emergency Core Cooling Systems (ECCS) and the Reactor Core Isolation Cooling (RCIC) system remain operable. “This event did not result in any adverse impact to the health and safety of the public.” The NRC resident inspector has been notified.”
Notice how nasty Pilgrim Nuclear sounds about their operations when they put much of the US and its economy at risk with their recklessness: