May 25th, 2012: Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant near Boston deemed safe, gets new 20-year license to operate.
Pilgrim’s site vice president, said, “NRC approval of Pilgrim’s license renewal application was the culmination of extensive and rigorous review by the NRC and a tremendous amount of hard work by Entergy. The NRC spent more than 20,000 hours conducting inspections and reviews. At the end of the process, we effectively demonstrated that our systems, structures and components will continue to safely perform their intended function during the 20-year renewal period.”
May 27, 2012: Plant shuts down days later due to safety issues.
Pilgrim nuclear plant shut down after condenser problem
Power production at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth was halted this afternoon when a condenser at the station lost vacuum pressure during a cleaning, forcing operators to shut down the entire plant, officials said.
Operators shut down the plant, which was operating at about 30 percent power at the time, according to Neil Sheehan, a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Plant operators initiated a manual “scram,” which “involves the control room operators inserting all of the control rods into the reactor core to halt the fissioning process,” according to Sheehan.
The condenser uses water from the bay to cool and convert into water the steam that was produced in the reactor and then used to spin the turbine to generate electricity, Sheehan said. The condenser operates in a vacuum to maximize efficiency, he said.
NRC inspectors at the plant “did not identify any safety concerns or performance issues,” Sheehan said. “They will follow the company’s efforts to troubleshoot the cause of the loss of condenser vacuum and any corrective actions.”
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