2 Leaks at Brunswick Nuclear Power Station – Reactor Pressure Vessel Head Not Fully Tensioned

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According to Progress Energy, early Wednesday morning the plant reported an unusual plant event to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Environmentalist Tom Clements with Friends of the Earth, tracks nuclear issues primarily in South Carolina and Georgia.

However, the unusual event report posted Wednesday morning plant grabbed his attention.

“The reason that is significant is because this type of reactor, a boiling water reactor, it goes directly through the core of the reactor, where the radioactive material is contained,” said Clements.


Today a new update is posted on the NRC Event Notification Board, and despite the attempt to downplay the significance of the event, experts agree that the event exhibits serious lapses of security and the NRC’s defense-in-depth policy.

Power Reactor Event Number: 47452
Region: 2 State: NC
Unit: [ ] [2] [ ]
RX Type: [1] GE-4,[2] GE-4
Notification Date: 11/17/2011
Notification Time: 16:58 [ET]
Event Date: 11/17/2011
Event Time: 13:45 [EST]
Last Update Date: 11/17/2011
Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(3)(ii)(B) – UNANALYZED CONDITION
Person (Organization):
Unit SCRAM Code RX CRIT Initial PWR Initial RX Mode Current PWR Current RX Mode
2 N N 0 Cold Shutdown 0 Refueling

Event Text

UNANALYZED CONDITION ON STARTUP FOLLOWING MAINTENANCE OUTAGE”On November 17, 2011, at 1345 Eastern Standard Time (EST), it was determined that an unanalyzed condition that significantly degraded plant safety existed on Unit 2 following a mid-cycle maintenance outage which required reactor vessel disassembly. Unit 2 had reached Mode 2 (i.e., Startup) during the power ascension, when elevated drywell leakage was identified and the plant was shutdown (see EN#47444). Unit 2 was subsequently operating in Mode 4 (i.e., Cold Shutdown) to allow for drywell entry. During leak investigation activities, it was determined that the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) head was not fully tensioned. This condition is being reported in accordance with 10 CFR 50.72(b)(3)(ii)(B) as a condition of the nuclear power plant being in an unanalyzed condition that significantly degrades plant safety.”The safety significance of this event was minimal. Unit 2 was in power ascension operating at a maximum of approximately 7% of rated thermal power. Control Room Operators took appropriate action to shutdown the Unit when elevated drywell leakage was identified.”The NRC Senior Resident Inspector has been notified.”

Source: nrc.gov

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