Event Report: News story on Oyster Creek shutdown misses the point

An Associated Press story in the Asbury Park Press reported today:

The nation’s oldest operating nuclear plant has been taken offline temporarily so crews can replace a piece of equipment.

The Oyster Creek plant in Lacey Township was shut down at 8 p.m. Monday.

Plant officials say the step was taken to support inspections and the replacement of a piece of safety equipment that operates valves located inside the drywell. Because the equipment is inside the drywell, this inspection cannot be performed while the reactor is in operation.

What the Associated Press and the Asbury Park Press failed to mention was that Oyster Creek had no choice but to shut down the reactor, as the valve situation amounted to a limiting condition of operation, requiring a controlled shutdown within 24 hours. According to the Event Report filed today with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission:

On July 7, 2014 at approximately [2040 EDT], an issue was discovered with currently removed Electromatic Relief Valves (EMRVs) that calls the operability of the currently installed EMRVs into question. Based on this new information, all 5 of the currently installed EMRVs were conservatively declared inoperable. With the potential of 5 EMRVs inoperable a Technical Specification shutdown is required under Technical Specification 3.4.b, whereby reactor pressure shall be reduced to 110 psig or less within 24 hours.

The report characterized the situation as an “event or condition that at the time of discovery could have prevented the fulfillment of the safety function of structures or systems that are needed to (m)itigate the consequences of an accident.”

Here’s a link to the Asbury Park Press story: http://www.app.com/story/news/local/ocean-county/2014/07/08/new-jersey-nuke-plant-goes-offline-repair-work/12359137/

And you can see the NRC Event Report at www.nrc.gov. Click on Read More under Event Reports on the upper right side of the page. Then under Reports Associated with Events, click on Current if you’re doing this today, or under Archives after today.


About Robert Singleton

By day, I work for a call center. In my spare time, I try to save my hometown (and planet) from a nearly constant onslaught of greedheads, lunatics and land developers. I live in a fictional town called Austin, Texas, where I go to way too many meetings.
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