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Nuclear Regulatory Commission Studies Malfunctioning Nuclear Feed Water Pump

A malfunctioning nuclear feed water pump is sending inspectors from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission scurrying. The questionable pump is a significant backup water pump. The pump is located at Connecticut’s Millstone Nuclear Plant. The same pump was written up in 2013, January 2014 and on Monday, September 15, 2014.

The nuclear plant is positioned in a former quarry in Waterford, Connecticut. The station is the only nuclear plant in Connecticut. The plant is located on 500 acres along the Niantic Bay. Water from the bay is utilized as a coolant water source for the nuclear power generation site. The plant, owned by Dominion Resources, is a major supplier for the New England Electrical Grid.

The first reactor was permanently closed in July 1998. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency cited the reactor for a leaky valve and multiple equipment failures. Two reactors are presently functioning at the site with a total output rating of 2020 MWe.

A turbine driven auxiliary pump stopped and restarted of its on accord during testing in July and again on September 10, 2014. Although the pump has been repaired, the agency will continue to study the incident. In August 2014, an improper cam follower bearing was installed believed to be the root of three over-speed trips in 2013.

A citizen’s safety panel questioned representatives from Dominion Resources at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 concerning safety issues at the plant after learning of visits by inspectors from the NRC. Dominion Resources’ Director of Nuclear Safety and Licensing at the Millstone facility, Lori Armstrong, informed the panel that 80 employees at the nuclear power plant have completed a training course for troubleshooting future incidents.

On Tuesday, September 9, 2014, the Millstone Nuclear Plant employees participated in a “hostile action event” drill. The drill simulated an attack by terrorists. The purpose of the drill is to prepare employees should an attack actually occur. Local emergency responders participated in the drill. The terrorists set fictitious explosives during the drill. The Assistant Director of Technical Support at the Millstone Plant, Paul Malzahn, informed employees that the fictitious leak caused by the pretend explosion had been halted.

*Royalty free photo courtesy of Flickr’s Creative Commons.

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