Alert Declared at Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant, Indian Point Shut Down After Hurricane Sandy via Nuclear Power Industry News

High water from Hurricane Sandy prompted an alert at Exelon’s Oyster Creek nuclear plant Monday night, while one unit at Entergy’s Indian Point shut down and a total of ten plants along the Eastern Seaboard were under the watch of additional inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

At Oyster Creek on the New Jersey coast about 60 miles east of Philadelphia, the level of water in the plant’s intake structure exceeded the regulatory levels requiring an unusual event declaration at about 7 p.m., followed by the alert at about 8:45 p.m. The plant’s reactor was safely shut down for maintenance at the time. Wind, storm surge and a rising tide caused the high water levels that were expected to begin falling last night, according to the NRC. If water levels in the intake structure are high enough, they can threaten service water pumps.

Reuters quoted an Exelon representative as saying power had been disrupted at Oyster Creek, and that diesel generators were providing backup power to spent fuel cooling systems. Early this morning, the news agency also quoted an NRC spokesman as saying Constellation Energy’s Nine Mile Point unit 1 had shut down, although it was unclear whether the shutdown was caused by conditions at the plant itself.

Earlier Monday, the NRC dispatched additional inspectors to all of the units potentially affected by the storm. Those included reactors at Oyster Creek, Salem, Hope Creek, Calvert Cliffs, Limerick, Peach Bottom, Three Mile Island, Susquehanna, Indian Point and Millstone.

The Associated Press reported that one unit at Entergy’s Indian Point north of New York City was shut down at about 10:45 p.m. because of external issues with the electrical grid. Earlier, the NRC had reported that, as of 9 p.m., Monday, no operating plants had experienced wind speeds or water levels that would require a precautionary shutdown.

Dominion’s Millstone 3 reactor in Connecticut was running at 75 percent power as a precaution against storm surge and to promote grid stability in the event it was shut down, The Day newspaper of New London, Conn., reported.

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