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Offline Rennhack

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Palisades News
« on: May 12, 2013, 06:33 »
Palisades can't seem to get a break.  It's one of the two Nuclear power plants I live near, so I hope it the best.  I have a lot of friends that work there, and the local economy desperately needs those jobs.

Here is a summary of some of the news posted lately.

Quote from: Yvonne Zipp | May 12, 2013 at 12:01 PM
A timeline of incidents at Palisades Nuclear Power Plant since 2007

COVERT TOWNSHIP, MI -- The leak that shut down Palisades Nuclear Power Plant May 5 is one of a series of incidents that have bedeviled the nuclear reactor in recent years.
Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner Kristine Svinicki will tour Palisades Nuclear Power Plant on Monday, May 13, at the invitation of U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, who will accompany her.
Palisades officials will host an open house to answer questions from the public about the plant Tuesday, May 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Beach Haven Event Center in South Haven
Entergy Corp. bought Palisades from Consumers Energy in 2007 for $380 million. The one-reactor plant, which is located along Lake Michigan in Covert Township, supplies about 20 percent of the utility's power. The facility came online in 1971 and its license runs until 2031.  Below is a timeline of incidents at Palisades since 2007, based on NRC reports and previous MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette articles.

2007 -- Palisades' head of security resigned amid revelations he had fabricated some of his credentials.

2008 -- An NRC safety assessment found Palisades failed “to recognize and assess the impact of radiological hazards in the workplace.” The NRC found that Palisades failed to determine how much radiation employees were exposed to after radiation monitors worn by the workers warned of an exposure.

August 2008 -- Five workers were trapped for 90 minutes inside a high-temperature area when a hatch malfunctioned. The NRC launched a probe and found the plant did not take proper precautions to prevent such occurrences.

2009 -- During an inspection, the NRC found that workers failed to notice a problem in the pool where spent fuel rods are kept. The finding, labeled a “low to moderate safety” risk that did not endanger the public, kept Palisades on the NRC's list of plants that required additional regulatory oversight for a second year. The plant’s 2009 safety assessment also found problems with human performance regarding “error-prevention techniques.”

May 2010 -- A Palisades manager left the control room without following protocol and the event was not reported within 24 hours, the NRC found.

January 2011 -- Palisades operated at 55 percent power for eight days after a cooling-water pump lost power when an electrical bus failed. The event did not represent a threat to health and safety, the NRC said.

May 2011 -- While NRC inspectors were conducting a routine test of the plant’s auxiliary feed water system, a turbine-driven pump was tripped. Investigators found a component of the pump that was greased and should not have been. The NRC classified the event as a "low to moderate" safety significance.

August 2011 -- The NRC launched a special inspection after the failure of a coupling that holds pipes together. It found Palisades did not follow industry standards when choosing the coupling and the cracking was preventable. Palisades replaced all couplings.

September 2011 -- Palisades shut down between Sept. 16 and Sept. 20 for repairs, after workers discovered a leaking valve in the system that cools the reactor.

September 2011 Palisades shut down for a week after a breaker fault in the plant's electrical system Sept. 25, when a worker performing maintenance on an electrical panel when a piece of metal came into contact with another metal piece and caused an arc. There were no injuries reported. The NRC launched a special investigation, the second in two months. The investigation found that during the incident, which it named of "substantial significance to safety," Palisades did not follow proper safety protocols before the shutdown.

November 2011 -- The NRC bumped Palisades down a level to the Regulatory Response column as a result of the May 2011 incident.

January 2012 -- Palisades shut down for 3-1/2 days to repair a wearing seal on a control rod mechanism.

February 2012 -- The NRC downgraded Palisades to the third regulatory column, making it among the four-worst performing reactors in the U.S. The downgrade came as a result of the two special investigations launched in 2011.

June 2012 -- Palisades shut down for a month to repair a leak in its safety injection refueling water tank. Numerous cracks were found within the 300,000-gallon storage tank, according to reports. When the plant returned to service, the tank was still leaking, but due to its size, it did not pose a safety risk, the NRC found.

July 2012 -- An independent review of Palisades found "examples of a lack of accountability at all levels." The study, conducted by Conger & Elsea Inc. in January and February 2012, looked at plant operations related to human performance, safety-conscious work environment, problem identification and resolution.

August 2012 -- Palisades shut down for 18 days to repair a leak in the control rod mechanism drive in the containment building. The NRC sent a three-inspector team and launched a special inspection of the pressure-boundary leak. During the 30 days before the location of the leak was discovered, up to 10,000 gallons of radioactive water leaked from the containment vessel. The water was contained and did not pose a safety risk to the public, the NRC found.

September 2012 -- An NRC inspector found what it characterized as a small leak in a valve in the service water system. The water was not radioactive and did not represent a health or safety risk, the NRC said.

September 2012 -- Entergy sued the federal government over a lack of a waste disposal site. The New Orleans-based company said it paid the government $6 million in fees a year to take its waste. Since the Department of Energy has not done so, Entergy said it has spent an estimated $100 million storing the waste.

November 2012 -- Palisades shuts down for three days to repair a steam leak inside the plant's auxiliary building.

November 2012 -- The NRC upgraded Palisades after an 11-day inspection in September found that Entergy had made improvements and addressed deficiencies. The NRC ordered an additional 1,000 hours of inspections in 2013, on top of the standard 2,000 hours.

February 2013 -- Palisades shut down for six days to repair a leak in the component cooling water system. It was leaking 35 gallons of non-radioactive water an hour before the shutdown, the NRC said. The leak did not represent a threat to the public or the plant, the NRC said.

March 2013 -- Palisades was one of three U.S. plants with significant safety events, or "near-misses" in the past three years, according to a report by the independent Union of Concerned Scientists. The near-misses at Palisades resulted from long-standing problems, the UCS said, and it charged the NRC with failing to enforce violations.

May 2013 -- On May 5, Palisades shut down after the leak in the safety injection refueling water tank accelerated from one a day to 90 gallons within a 24-hour period, the NRC said. On May 4, before the shutdown, some 79 gallons of radioactive water from the tank went down a drain into a capture basin, where it was extremely diluted, according to the NRC, and ended up in Lake Michigan. The NRC has sent an additional inspector to Palisades, and one of its health physicists is also investigating the incident. As of May 10, Palisades was still offline while workers and inspectors search for the source of the leak and make repairs.

Quote from: Yvonne Zipp | May 10, 2013 at 1:36 PM
Radioactive water was released into Lake Michigan before Palisades nuclear plant shutdown Sunday

COVERT TOWNSHIP, MI – Before Sunday's shutdown of Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, about 79 gallons of diluted radioactive water were released into Lake Michigan, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday, May 6.

But by the time the water reached the lake, the level of radioactivity had been diluted to the point where it did not represent a health or safety risk, a spokeswoman for the NRC said.

"There was no danger to the public. It did occur. It is not anything to be alarmed about," said the NRC's Viktoria Mitlyng. Palisades does planned releases of diluted radioactive water into the lake at regular intervals, she said.

Over the weekend, the water, which leaked from a 300,000-gallon storage tank, went down a drain and into a basin, where what Mitlyng characterized as "an extreme dilution factor" occurred.

This weekend's unplanned event occurred after a leak in a safety injection/refueling water tank increased from one gallon a day on Thursday to 90 gallons either Friday night or Saturday, Mitlyng said. That crossed the 38-gallon threshold agreed to by the plant and the NRC as allowable in 2012. Palisades staff had been monitoring the leak daily, in accord with its agreement with the NRC, Mitlyng said.

The cause of the increase in volume of leaking water is unknown, according to an event report Palisades filed with the NRC.

"The licensee has been operating with SIRW leakage at a rate of less than 34 gallons per day. The leakage has increased for unknown reasons to a calculated value of approximately 90 gallons per day," the report stated.

The plant began the shutdown at 1:12 a.m. Sunday after the tank was declared inoperable.

The nuclear power plant was offline Monday as inspectors and Palisades staff worked on finding and repairing the leak. The tank will have to be drained to determine the location of the leak.
"The exact location of the leakage has not been determined at this time," Palisades noted in the report to the NRC.

A leak in the same tank, resulting in seepage in the control room, caused Palisades to be shut down last year, according to the NRC.

Leaks have been an ongoing issue at Palisades, owned by New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., which shut down four times in 2012 and twice so far this year. Most recently, in February, the plant shut down for six days to repair a component cooling water heat exchanger and replace a damaged switch.

The NRC resident inspectors monitored the shutdown and are closely watching repairs, Mitlyng said, and the NRC is sending an additional inspector. There is no current timeline for when Palisades might resume service, she said.

Palisades has been under extra scrutiny after a series of safety issues in 2011. In September, the NRC conducted an 11-day inspection of the plant and determined that those problems had been "adequately addressed" by operators, but that additional monitoring was warranted. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has scheduled an extra 1,000 hours of inspection at Palisades during 2013.

Quote from: CBS RADIO May 5, 2013 12:43 PM
More Problems At Palisades Nuclear Power Plant

COVERT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WWJ/AP) - Operators of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in southwestern Michigan say they removed it from service because of a water leak.

The plant operators said they took the plant off-line Sunday morning for inspections and repairs to the safety injection/refueling water tank. They said there is no risk to the public.

The plant is along Lake Michigan’s shoreline in Van Buren County’s Covert Township, about 80 miles east-northeast of Chicago.

Plant operators said they acted after “water leakage from the tank exceeded a site threshold.”

The plant is owned by New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. has been under extra scrutiny by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after numerous safety issues and shutdowns.

The latest problems come after the plant shut for several days in February for work on its cooling water heat exchanger system.

A message on the Palisades website acknowledged that they’ve been working to improve safety, following indications that the facility wasn’t meeting its own standards.

The plant is hosting a public open house on Tuesday, May 14 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Beach Haven Event Center in South Haven. Palisades representatives will be available to discuss various plant topics with the public.

“The purpose of this open house is to continue open communications with our local community members. We believe that our own employees are the best source of accurate information regarding Palisades operations, and we want to provide the opportunity to meet and interact with the nuclear professionals who work tirelessly to ensure that Palisades operates safely day in and day out,” said Palisades Site Vice President Tony Vitale.

Quote from: May 08, 2013
Upton 'outraged' over Palisades Nuclear Power Plant's continued problems

Washington, D.C. —

Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, is calling for the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant to remain offline until a recurring leak is permanently fixed.

Safety investigators reported Monday that 79 gallons from the 250,000-gallon tank leaked into a basin holding thousands of gallons of non-radioactive water, Mitlyng said. She said that water from the tank is no longer reaching the lake.

Upton, who serves as chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, has been in close contact with both the Nuclear Regulatory Agency, the independent federal agency overseeing nuclear reactor safety and security, and Entergy Corporation, the New Orleans-based company that owns and operates the Covert Township facility.

“This situation is not acceptable and demands full accountability,” Upton said in a prepared statement Tuesday afternoon. “I expect to personally visit the facility with an NRC commissioner in the very near future.  When it comes to nuclear energy, safety must always come first, and without that assurance by the NRC, the facility needs to stay offline."

The leaking water tank is scheduled to be emptied by the end of the week to identify the cause.

Seventy-nine gallons of "very slightly radioactive water" from a leaky tank at the troubled Palisades Nuclear Power Plant spilled into Lake Michigan, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman said Monday.

There is no risk to human health because the radioactive material was further diluted when it entered a storage basin before flowing into the lake, NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng told The Associated Press. She said there is "absolutely" no risk to human health.

The southwestern Michigan plant was shut down Sunday after officials discovered a growing leak the day before in a water storage tank.

Offline wingnut

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Re: Palisades News
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2013, 07:30 »
Seems that sometimes Palisades can be its own worst enemy. I worked there in '94 when the NRC went  through the place with a fine toothed comb. Workers were asked by management to list what they thought might be wrong in their areas. When compared with the final NRC report the lists of problem areas were nearly identical. Its a nice facility and I worked with diligent, dedicated people. Hope it gets fixed completely this time. At least its not Browns Ferry.

Offline RDTroja

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Re: Palisades News
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2013, 08:57 »
My experience at Palisades was a long time ago (1976) and let's just say I was not impressed. I am sure most of the people there when I was are long since gone, but I was just baffled over the lack of knowledge and the attitude about radiation protection. It was just after my first outage but I seemed to know a lot more (and care a lot more) then the supervision there. Even my brother who had a grand total of one outage as a junior was more impressed with the ignorance he found. He put out a fire under an open steam generator, called the HP office to see what to do and was told everything was OK as long as the fire was out. When he asked if he should take an air sample the reply was 'If you want to.'

Neither he nor I went back. I have no desire to see any plant in trouble but I would be lying if I said I was surprised.

I have a couple of other experiences from there, but I don't want to kick a plant while it is down.

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Re: Palisades News
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2013, 02:53 »
   Great opportunity to repeat this story...workers during an outage installed a sign in the parking lot which caused the loss of off site power. The Senior RP tech that told me this story was stationed at the equipment hatch and used an axe to sever the temporary electrical cords entering containment in order to close the equipment hatch door. The junior RP tech assisting said to the Senior RP Tech "Slat, this is a scary place."
   In addition to many similar stories, the temporary floating of a small shielding pig containing used in-core detector probes in the flooded reactor cavity is another good example.
   Being the first of the 14 CE PWRs, 1971, the plant was a pioneer and, as with famous early reactors of that era, like Surry and Dresden, they innovated.
   As we all know, our industry is glaringly safe compared to just about anything else and Palisades is conspicuous in its large contribution to the safety culture we all enjoy.

Offline Rennhack

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Re: Palisades News
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2013, 05:27 »
The Senior RP tech that told me this story was stationed at the equipment hatch and used an axe to sever the temporary electrical cords entering containment in order to close the equipment hatch door. The junior RP tech assisting said to the Senior RP Tech "Slat, this is a scary place."

Where did "Slat" find an axe in containment? Left over from SCRAM (Safety Control Rod Axe Man) operations??  Or was it a guitar?

Offline retired nuke

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Re: Palisades News
« Reply #5 on: May 18, 2013, 11:13 »
summer outage '93

a fuel pin separated from a bundle, not noticed during fuel moves

it was noticed on cavity draindown, when the ctmt rover called me at the checkpoint to say....

Snake, it's an R an hour at the top of the cavity. I sent everyone out until you get here....  :o

That was the second scariest sentence I've heard in my career.   8)

(scariest - from a radiographer - what do we do if both of our PICs are offscale...)  :-X

I love the area, and the people, and I hope that PAL gets itself going good, but ....  :-\
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Re: Palisades News
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2013, 08:33 »
I was not the axeman. But I have a couple 6 string axes at home in cases. My favorite being a 1981 Gibson Les Paul custom produced in Kalamazoo, Mi. before company moved to Nashville.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 12:45 by SlattManDu »


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Re: Palisades News
« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2013, 04:30 »
CAM doesn't stand for Containment Axe Man?


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Re: Palisades News
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2013, 07:08 »
2003 seems like such a long time ago. 4 dedicated hatch closure workers are staged in case of emergency  with axe. If you read axe you can still see true axeman from alert declared during 2003 refout ,his name John L.


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