1. On June 9 of this year, the Watts Barr nuclear power plant in Tennessee reported that a transformer module in its unit 2 reactor had failed. Today, QualTech NP, the maker of the part in question, notified the NRC that it had determined that a manufacturing irregularity had caused the failure. QualTech reported: “The issues appear to revolve around inconsistent and poor quality fabrication methods employed during manufacturing, primarily with how the wires were wrapped in critical areas of the primary and how they were routed and attached to the termination points.”
QualTech attempted to lessen the impact of the defective electrical module, saying: “Based on review of our records, Tennessee Valley Authority is the only customer to have these defective modules.” The TVA, however, has six operating reactors, with another set to open at Watts Barr, and plans to finish a mothballed reactor at Bellafonte in Alabama.
2. The North Carolina Division of Radiation Protection today retracted an Event Report concerning a fire at Radiation Therapy Services Inc. The retraction was based on a determination that none of the iridium or cesium sources stored on site were damaged. The fire, however, was a major event: one fireman was killed and ten injured.
3. A representative of the Alabama Office of Radiation Control discovered that five devices containing radioactive material were missing from inventory at the closed Quantegy, Inc., facility in Opelika, Alabama. The missing devices contain curium and americium. Operating theories include that the devices were returned to the manufacturer, or that they or disposed of as scrap metal.
4. The Monticello nuclear plant in Illinois reported today that a non-licensed contract supervisor tested positive for alcohol in a random Fitness for Duty Test. The supervisor’s access to the site has been terminated.
5. The Nine Mile Point and FitzPatrick nuclear power stations in New York reported that one of their shared prompt notification sirens went off for no apparent reason on Friday evening. Investigation is underway.
6. And, even as the siren investigation was underway, Nine Mile Point was forced to declare an Unusual Event and begin shutdown procedures early Saturday morning when a leak in excess of 10 gallons per minute was discovered into the drywell area of its Unit 2 reactor. The Unusual Event was terminated just before noon, but shutdown continues.
7. Also Saturday morning, Browns Ferry in Alabama suffered a partial loss of power to the Primary Containment Isolation System in the Unit 1 reactor. This compromised the Reactor Protection System and resulted in a Limiting Condition of Operation (LCO), in effect a gradual ramping down in power output. The defective element was subsequently replaced, and the unit exited the LCO.
8. On Friday, inspectors at the Urananium Enrichment Facility in Eunice, New Mexico, discovered “potentially contaminated waste being stored in an unmarked container in the mass spec room.” The Event Report said that the “the unmarked container was not a Safe By Design [SBD] container….” Initial reports said that the material consisted primarily of gloves and wipes, but subsequent testing found: “potential Uranium 235 contaminated PFPE oil ampules in a solid state. Hope they weren’t planning to ship this unlabelled detritus to WCS’ facility in Andrews County.
9. And finally, on Saturday morning, the Unit 1 reactor at Palo Verde nuclear in Arizona shut itself down when a Control Element Assembly (CEA) signalled that its control rods had failed to insert during testing. Subsequent investigation indicated that the CEA had fully inserted. The root cause of the erroneous signal is still unknown. Unit 1 wass still at 0 per cent output as of the Monday morning Reactor Status Reports.