Swiss nuclear plant shut down after cooling system defects found

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Swiss nuclear power operator Axpo confirmed in reports that Beznau Unit 2 was shut down after finding defects in the cooling water circulation system.  The utility reports no radiation leakage was reporting during the event.

The main pump is responsible for circulating coolants in the system’s primary circuit and must be shut down completely for the repair work, and is expected to last several days,  Axpo said.  According to the utility the fault was found on the shaft sealing system, causing the operating team to manually SCRAM the reactor.

Beznau’s Block 1 was put in service in 1969, and became the oldest operating nuclear plant in the world after the atomic power station in Oldbury, Britain, was shut down on February 29.  After Fukushima shook public confidence in the industry, the Swiss government decided to scrap plans to build new nuclear reactors.

In January the Swiss nuclear safety authority ENSI announced safety precautions for its nuclear reactors must be further reviewed.  Should they be viewed as insufficient to offer protection against natural disasters, in particular the combination of earthquakes and failure of dams near power stations, ENSI could in theory require plants to stop production, it said.


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