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Recent safety hazards at aging nuclear plants
> Recent safety hazards at aging nuclear plants
> In the past three years, old or worn-out equipment has caused dozens
> incidents requiring plants to shut down.
> December 9, 2001
> BY CHRIS KNAP
> The Orange County Register Since January 1999, worn-out equipment at
> nuclear power plants has caused more than 50 fires, radiation or steam
> or other serious safety hazards requiring shutdown of the nuclear
> Here are details of some of the most serious accidents:
> January 1999: Inadequate maintenance led to a six-hour hydrogen fire
> on the
> roof of the control building at J.A. Fitzpatrick in Syracuse, N.Y.,
> forcing a
> plant shutdown.
> August 1999: A cooling- water drain line in Callaway, Mo., broke
> because of
> severe corrosion, forcing a reactor shutdown. A subsequent inspection
> revealed at least 10 areas where pipes had decayed and were in danger
> 1999-2000: Millstone in Waterford, Conn., had to repeatedly shut down
> due to
> failures of the reactor control-rod drive system, including control
> rods that
> came loose and dropped into the reactor. The plant operator blamed
> insulation and damaged electrical leads.
> February 2000: A steam generator tube ruptured at Indian Point 2 in
> New York,
> contaminating 19,000 gallons of cooling water and releasing
> radioactive steam
> into the atmosphere.
> May 2000: A failed electrical conductor at Diablo Canyon 1 in San Luis
> County triggered a fire that cut power to the coolant and circulating
> pumps that keep the nuclear core from overheating.
> August 2000: Peach Bottom Unit 3, in Pennsylvania, was forced into
> shutdown when an instrument valve failed and caused a leak of
> reactor cool ant outside of primary containment. A similar valve
> failure and
> leak of radiation had occurred May 28, 2000, but the valves were not
> October 2000: At V.C. Summer, in South Carolina, a 29- inch diameter
> pipe, with walls more than 2 inches thick, suffered a crack due to
> stress corrosion, creating a leak of radioactive cooling water. Crack
> indications were later found at four more reactor inlets.
> November 2000 to April 2001: After receiving a 20-year license
> operators of Oconee 1, in Seneca, S.C., found 19 cracks in the reactor
> control rods pass through to the nuclear core. Radioactive cooling
> water had
> been leaking into the containment sump. In February nine leaks were
> found in
> Oconee 3, which had been taken down for refueling. Oconee 2 was later
> to have four leaking control-rod nozzles.
> January 2001: Failure of an 18-year-old valve at North Anna, Va.,
> created a
> leak of radioactive coolant of more than 10 gallons per minute,
> forcing a
> shutdown of the reactor.
> February 2001: A 20-year-old circuit breaker at San Onofre 3, near
> Pendleton, failed to close, creating a 4000-volt arc and fire that cut
> to coolant control systems, drowned emergency switching valves and
> shut down
> emergency oil pumps, destroying the Unit 3 generator shaft. Currently,
> identical breakers remain in service at the plant.
> February 2001: After Arkansas 1 was re-licensed for 20 years,
> cracking was found on the control-rod drives and thermocouple nozzles
> entering the nuclear reactor.
> August 2001: Failure of a valve at Palo Verde 3, in Arizona, caused a
> leak of
> radioactive cooling water from the irradiated fuel-cooling pool into
> reactor containment building, forcing a reactor shutdown.
> Source: Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection reports, incident
> and technical bulletins.
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