As a follow-up to yesterday’s post on the ongoing controversy over Southern California’s San Onofre nuclear power plant, a reminder that nuclear industry woes aren’t confined to California.
First, a report of the latest shutdown, this time on the East Coast. John Murawski of the Raleigh News & Observer reports:
Duke Energy Progress shut down the Shearon Harris nuclear plant in Wake County on Wednesday after the company discovered that the reactor vessel – which holds the plant’s nuclear fuel and contains the nuclear reaction – showed early indications of corrosion and cracking.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported Thursday morning that plant officials made the discovery earlier this week during a review of ultrasonic data that had been recorded in spring 2012.
The year-old data showed a one-quarter-inch flaw in the reactor vessel head, the term for the lid that is bolted on top of the vessel to maintain superheated water under high pressure.
More from NBC News outlet WITN:
Duke Energy owns the Shearon Harris plant, which began operations in 1987.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the quarter inch crack was not all the way through the reactor wall and there’s no indication any radioactive material escaped.
The NRC says the plant was shut down so crews could repair the crack. It says there is no impact “to the health and safety of employees or the public.”
And the problems aren’t confined to the coasts, either.
Problems in Michigan, cracks once again
From Henry Erb of NBC affiliate WOOD in Grand Rapids, Michigan:
Authorities say they’ve found the crack that led to “slightly radioactive water” spilling from the Palisades nuclear power plant into Lake Michigan.
The Covert Township plant was shut down May 5 after about 79 gallons of slightly radioactive spilled into a pond that flows into Lake Michigan. Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said the water did not pose a public health risk. The leak was in a 300,000-gallon tank used to hold water that floods and cools the nuclear reactor during refueling and in the event of a problem.
The problem was a half-inch crack in the welding around one of nine nozzles in the tank, authorities said Monday. Three of those have been replaced and every weld and every nozzle is now being checked. The entire bottom of the tank is also being checked.
And here’s a report from WOOD featuring an interview with Congressional Rep. Fred Upton [R-St. Joseph]:
Perhaps we’re getting a signal. . .