Michigan’s Palisades Nuke Plant has “very small, very minor” cooling water leak” [!!]

12 08 2012

Don’t worry – the nuke plant officials say it’s very small, very minor. :)

From: http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/site/?pageid=event_desc&edis_id=NC-20120813-36150-USA

The Palisades nuclear plant in southwestern Michigan has been removed from service to repair what officials said is a “very small, very minor” cooling water leak. No radioactive materials were released, spokesman Mark Savage said Sunday. The leak was being repaired inside a containment building at the plant in Covert Township, southwest of Grand Rapids. “Palisades is taking this conservative measure at this time because of our unrelenting commitment and focus on nuclear safety,” Savage said in Sunday morning in a release. “Palisades will be returned to service when repairs are completed.” Officials had been monitoring the leak for a month. Cooling water is used to cool off components of a nuclear reactor [duh-oh!] by picking up and carrying heat from the reactor. The plant’s reactor was shut down June 12 to repair a leak in a refueling water storage tank and was back online by July 11. “Shortly after that we noticed slowly increasing levels of this (cooling water) leakage,” Savage told The Associated Press on Sunday afternoon. Shutting down the plant drops radiation levels in the containment building and allows workers to safely repair the leak, he added. Palisades has been designated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as one of the nation’s four worst-performing nuclear plants, and it’s come under increasing public and federal scrutiny recently. New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. owns the plant and says it’s working to improve the plant’s safety culture. [umm-hummm]  Last month, Michigan health officials reminded people who live, work or visit within 10 miles of Palisades to have potassium iodide pills on hand. The pills may prevent illnesses associated with radioactive iodine should an accident occur. The Michigan Department of Community Health makes the pills available for free to people near the plant and the state’s other nuclear power plants.

UPDATE, Aug. 13

Crews continue work to bring Palisades nuclear power plant back to service

- a puff piece written in NukespeakF.C.

A more informative story: Palisades Suffers Reactor Coolant Pressure Boundary Leakage

[snip] . . . Control Rod Guide Tubes enclose the Control Rod Drive Mechanisms which allow Control Rods to insert or withdraw from the Reactor Core. They are an extension of the Reactor Coolant System Pressure Boundary. As such, NO leakage is tolerated.

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