Exelon Corp. declared an “alert” at its New Jersey Oyster Creek nuclear power plant due to a record storm surge, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said, warning that a further water rise could force the country’s oldest working plant to use emergency water supplies to cool spent uranium fuel rods.
The alert — the second lowest of four NRC action levels — came after water levels at the plant rose by more than 6.5 feet (2 meters), potentially affecting the pumps that circulate water through the plant, an NRC spokesman said late on Monday.
Those pumps are not essential since the 43-year-old plant was shut for planned refueling since Oct. 22. However, a further rise to 7 feet could submerge the service water pump motor that is used to cool the water in the spent fuel pool.
Exelon spokesman David Tillman said the plant has “multiple and redundant” sources of cooling for the spent fuel pool. He said he did not know whether the service water system was operational at the moment.
Continue reading at NRC: Exelon nuclear plant on ‘alert’ after Sandy storm surge