PPL Corporation Announces Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant’s Unit 2 Shuts Down Automatically

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The Unit 2 reactor at PPL’s Susquehanna nuclear power plant in northeastern Pennsylvania shut down automatically at 10:46 a.m. Friday (8/19). The unit was operating at full power at the time. The shutdown occurred during scheduled, routine equipment surveillance; the cause is under investigation.

PPL Susquehanna is one of PPL Corporation’s (NYSE: PPL) generating facilities Susquehanna Unit 1 continues to operate at full power.

PPL spokesman George Lewis said no one was injured by the automatic shutdown, which happened at 10:46 a.m. EDT as the unit’s sensors performed routine equipment surveillance.

The Susquehanna plant, located in Luzerne County about seven miles north of Berwick, is owned jointly by PPL Susquehanna LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. and is operated by PPL Susquehanna.  It has two General Electric BWR (boiling water reactors) on a site of 1,075 acres (4.4 km⊃2;), with 1,130 employees working on site and another 180 employees in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

History

In the plant’s first emergency, an electrical fire erupted at a switch box that controls the supply of cooling water to emergency systems. No injuries were reported following the 1982 incident.  The emergency came 12 says after the utility started low-power testing of Unit 1.

Roughly 10,000 gallons of radioactive water spilled at the Station’s Unit 1 turbine building after a gasket failed in the filtering system in 1985.

March 2005, Smoke at PPL Corp.’s Susquehanna nuclear power plant led to a
low-level emergency declaration, ‘Unusual event’.

April 2005, The Unit 2 reactor was shut down to repair a battery charger after plant workers had discovered one of the unit’s four chargers was not working properly.  An “expert team” determined that two embrittled wires near a resistor came into contact with each other, creating a short circuit that caused three fuses in the charger to fail

PPL found three similar chargers elsewhere in the reactor and now has configured them to make sure they won’t have the same problem.On Thursday, April 28 at 7:19 a.m. , PPL shut down the Unit 2 nuclear reactor for the second time in a month due a malfunction with a plant electrical transformer.

June 2005, Unit 2 of PPL’s Susquehanna nuclear power plant shut down automatically at 12:33 p.m. Monday, June 6 because of a problem with the electric transmission network.

October 2005, Friction in fuel assemblies, control rods shuts down plant – Routine testing showed that some of the control rods and fuel assemblies on the Unit 1 reactor are experiencing increased friction, slowing their response time, the company said.

March 2006, Alert Declared at nuclear power plant in Luzerne County

Pennsylvania Emergency Management Director James R. Joseph announced that an ALERT was declared Wednesday night at the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station in Salem Township, Luzerne County. This action was necessary due to the activation of the fire suppression system in the Security Control Center.

April 2006, PPL Corp. shut the 1,140-megawatt Unit 2 at the Susquehanna nuclear power station in Pennsylvania on April 29 to repair a water leak.

June 2006, Monitoring system trips shutdown at Unit 1. At 3 a.m. on June 15, the Susquehanna Unit 1 reactor automatically “scrammed due to an apparent neutron monitoring trip while transferring Reactor Protection System power supplies,” company documents stated.  “All rods [fully] inserted, and both reactor recirculation pumps tripped,” according to the report, which explained, reactor water level lowered to -38″ causing level 3 (+13″) and level 2 (-38″)isolations, and was restored to normal level (+35″) … and subsequently the feedwater system. All isolations at this level occurred as expected. No steam relief valves opened. Pressure was controlled via turbine bypass valve operation”  A reactor recirculation pump was restarted to re-establish forced core circulation. The reactor is currently stable in condition 3. Unit 2 continued power operation, according to the report.

September 2006, Shipment to plant had radiation reading at 4 times allowed level.  A container shipped from Vermont Yankee on Aug. 31 ended up at its destination later that night with radiation readings four times higher than those allowable under federal law, according to a report filed Sept. 1 with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  The shipment, a box measuring 6x7x8 feet containing a machine used to configure fuel rods in the power plant’s spent fuel pool, registered no more than 60 millirem per hour before it left Vermont, according to Vermont Yankee (VY) records. That level is well below the federal Department of Transportation’s (DOT) 200 millirem hourly contact exposure limit.
However, when it arrived at the Susquehanna reactor in Berwick, Pa., the bottom of the container registered 820 millirem per hour, more than four times the DOT limit.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a preliminary “white” finding about the August shipment of a device designed to crush and cut reactor control rods from the plant site in Vernon to Salem Township, Pa.

In July 2010, Unit 1 was shut down after 1 million gallons of river water flooded the basement.   Unit 1 remains shut down as operators removed the water from the condenser building. The water had to be filtered and examined to determine if it was radioactive.  Scopelliti said PPL Susquehanna has had leaks like this before.

In January 2011 the Susquehanna nuclear power plant shut down because of steam leak.

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