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High Lake Ontario levels nearly pushed Nine Mile nuclear plant into emergency action via WRVO

The historically high water levels in Lake Ontario this year have threatened homeowners, municipalities and nuclear power plants – almost triggering emergency action at the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Facility in Oswego County.

Nuclear power plants are required by the federal government to follow security protocols if natural hazards, like flooding, put the facility in danger. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Lake Ontario was only a foot short of placing Nine Mile in the lowest-level emergency action plan.

Despite the close call, the plant’s owner Exelon did not feel the situation warranted the unusual event status because the high water levels were not threatening operations. So the company appealed for a change.

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Rising water levels can flood a nuclear plant’s pumps, which are part of the system that keeps its reactors at a safe temperature.

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