Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Palisades Nuclear Plant in South Haven Venting Radioactive Steam

Well. Isn't that special. From Mich Mess:

Entergy’s Palisades nuclear plant near South Haven is venting radioactive steam into the environment as part of an unplanned shutdown triggered by an electrical accident.

This shutdown, which began Sunday evening, came just five days after the plant restarted from a shutdown that was caused by a leak in the plant’s cooling system.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Prema Chandrithal said that the current shutdown happened because an object slipped during work on a circuit breaker and caused an arc that took out power for one of two DC electrical systems that power safety valves and other devices.

According to a notice filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the plant is stable and “controlling temperature using Atmospheric Dump Valves.”

“The steam that would normally go to the generators, that steam is now going into the environment … through the steam stack,” said Chandrithal. “This would have very low levels of tritium.”

Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.

I've always been a little bit nervous living to the north and west east (oops! thanks goes out to the editor - it's west, I'm east) of this thing, especially because it is now 40 years old and it seems that we have had frequent reports in the past couple of years of these little glitches that are taking it offline. This part failed, that part failed, no problem though, really, honest folks, go about your business.

Am I that worried about it? No. But still. I would rather have a big 'ol wind farm down there and hear a report of a turbine failure, rather than a report of radioactive chemicals being released into the air. Wouldn't you?

And interesting that this isn't being reported by anyone in the MSM...

Update: Wow, did this go viral. Thanks all for passing it around. And by the way, Michigan's largest wind farm, a 212 MW operation in Gratiot County near the town of Breckenridge, held their "official" groundbreaking ceremony today. They have 32 turbines up, with 101 more on the way. We are getting there, slowly but surely...