Notes from the Columbus Day weekend:
1. Two New York nuclear plants with a total of three reactors were without some emergency notification systems after a traffic accident Friday afternoon. Nine Mile Point reported that multiple annunciators sounded, resulting in the loss of the Emergency Notification System (ENS) and the Radiological Emergency Communications System (RECS.) FitzPatrick reported an ENS outage,a failure of the RECS link to Nine Mile Point and the failure of the plant’s Health Physics Network phone line. The fiber optic repair took approximately fifteen hours, and the events were terminated early the following morning.
This incident has significance to the efforts to stop expansion plans for a number of nuclear plants. For example, a contentions has been filed in the expansion plans for the South Texas Nuclear Project, concerning the inherent risks involved in co-location of nuclear plants. FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point share a 900 acre site in Scriba, New York.
2. As I previously reported, Unit 1 at the Palo Verde nuclear plant in Arizona declared an emergency Saturday afternoon after a junction box malfunctioned at the site. The Event Report presents a more serious incident than the press coverage indicated. The report to the NRC described the problem as a severe electrical fault, and indicated that an explosion had been heard in containment. One of the reactor coolant pumps, which had previously been out of service, was described as being in forced circulation. The incident occurred while the plant was in shutdown mode.
3. LaSalle nuclear in Illinois submitted a Fitness for Duty Report, after a employee supervisor failed a random screening, testing positive for illegal drugs. The employee’s access to the plant has been suspended, which usually indicates that a second test will be performed at some point.