Nuclear Power
1:44 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Nuclear Watch Dog Opposes Report Clearing Nine Mile 1 Nuclear Reactor

Constellation Energy's Nine Mile Point 1 reactor received clearance from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after several emergency shutdowns.
Credit cengllc.com

  One Nuclear Watchdog group is not convinced of the safety of the Nine Mile Point 1 Nuclear plant in Scriba despite a bill of good health from federal regulators.  

The N-R-C issued a report this week clearing Constellation Energy over several recent emergency shutdowns.  Nuclear Information and Resource Service Director Tim Judson worries the review process might not be safe enough.

“What happened was Nine Mile 1 had a series of emergency shutdowns for various reasons for a very short period of time.  The problem with the way that the NRC responds to these things is that they deal with the problem after it happens.” 

The problems included failures of a pressure regulator and voltage regulator;  collapse of a lightning arrestor and feed-water control malfunction.  But the N-R-C was satisfied with Constellation Energy’s repairs and procedure changes.  Judson wonders of some of the automatic shutdowns and failures are related to the age of the plant that went online in 1969.

“Every nuclear power plant that started up before Nine Mile 1 has already been shut down and several that were younger than Nine Mile 1 have been shut down.  So there are clearly aging issues with the plant.  Equipment is breaking more often.” 

Judson says the NRC has taken harsher actions elsewhere...and discusses nuclear power's future.

Judson adds even as these problems were being investigated, there were other incidents.  The N-R-C cited a brief cooling system failure during refueling last year.  The plant’s license was renewed in 2006 through 2029.