Wednesday, October 31, 2012

N.J. Cleaning up Update / OysterCreek Update : Forked River, South Jersey / Fires Update / A.C. Mayor

Flood waters receding at NJ’s Oyster Creek nuclear plant

Date: October 31, 2012
Waters have receded at Exelon Corp.’s (EXC) Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey, the company said Wednesday.
[...] The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires the company to issue an alert when flood waters rise to a certain level, but the NRC has said the plant remained in a safe condition during the worst of the storm.
[...] Exelon said the plant lost off-site power during the storm and switched on two locomotive-sized backup diesel generators. The company said power was restored Wednesday and it is investigating the cause of the power loss. [...]

Source :

Oyster Creek had service water pumps at risk due to high water from Sandy. This included the cooling water for the spent fuel pool cooling system. As of 2:53am EST Exelon did not know if the service water pumps had been impacted. Media contacts at Exelon, owner of Oyster Creek are promising an update shortly. We will pass on any new information as soon as we get it.
Update: Oyster Creek as of 2003 has more than 3025 assemblies in the spent fuel pool with a capacity of 2645 assemblies  that are at risk if the service water pump is lost.
As of November 2010, there were 1,159 used assemblies stored in 19 dry casks. Casks are stored in a concrete block system and would not be at risk in this scenario.

Oyster Creek; 36 of 43 emergency warning sirens in the emergency planning zone have failed in the last 24 hours.

Source :

Exelon declares alert at NJ Oyster Creek reactor

* Water levels at Oyster Creek declining

* Exelon says no threat to public health or safety

By Scott DiSavino

NEW YORK, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Hurricane Sandy slowed or shut a half-dozen U.S. nuclear power plants, while the nation's oldest facility declared a rare "alert" after the record storm surge pushed flood waters high enough to endanger a key cooling system.

Exelon Corp's 43-year-old Oyster Creek plant in New Jersey remains on "alert" status, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said early Tuesday. It is only the third time this year that the second-lowest of four emergency action levels was triggered.

"Oyster Creek is still in an alert but may be getting out of it as long as water levels continue to drop," NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan told Reuters.

The alert came after water levels at the plant rose more than 6.5 feet (2 meters) above normal, potentially affecting the "water intake structure" that pumps cooling water through the plant.

Those pumps are not essential to keep the reactor cool since the plant has been shut for planned refuelling since Oct. 22. Exelon however was concerned that if the water rose over 7 feet it could submerge the service water pump motor that is used to cool the water in the spent fuel pool, potentially forcing it to use emergency water supplies from the in-house fire suppression system to keep the rods from overheating.

Exelon also moved a portable pump to the intake structure as a precaution in case it was needed to pump cooling water.

The water levels reached a peak of 7.4 feet -- apparently above the threshold -- but the pump motors did not flood, Sheehan said. As of 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday the water level was down to 5.8 feet, with the next high tide at 11:45 a.m.

"They need the water level to stay below 6 feet for a while to exit the alert," Sheehan said, noting when the water level falls below 4.5 feet, the plant could exit the unusual event.

An unusual event is the lowest of the NRC's emergency action levels.

Exelon said in a statement that there was no danger to equipment and no threat to public health or safety.

"Right now there's no imminent threat of releases. There's no protective actions around the plant," Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said on the Today Show.

"Some of these reporting requirements are due though to the severity of the storms. That they have to make these notifications based upon conditions, that does not mean that they are in an imminent threat at the plant," Fugate said.

The incident at Oyster Creek, which is about 60 miles (95 km) east of Philadelphia on the New Jersey Coast, came as Sandy made landfall as the largest Atlantic storm ever, bringing up to 90 mile per hour (mph) winds and 13-foot storm surges in the biggest test of the industry's emergency preparedness since the Fukushima disaster in Japan a year and a half ago.

Despite the alert -- which is a serious but not catastrophic event that signals a "potential substantial degradation in the level of safety" -- the U.S. nuclear industry was broadly seen having passed the test. About a dozen alerts have been issued in the past four years, according to NRC press releases.

On Tuesday morning, the NRC said that Entergy Corp's Indian Point 3 automatically tripped offline at about 10:41 p.m. last night due to fluctuations in the power grid caused by the storm, while Public Service Enterprise Group Inc shut Unit 1 at Salem in New Jersey at 1:10 a.m. due to a loss of "condenser circulators" due to the storm surge and debris.


The relatively small 636-megawatt (MW) Oyster Creek plant earlier experienced a "power disruption" at its switch yard, causing two backup diesel generators to kick in and maintain a stable source of power, Exelon said.


Northeast crawls back to business after monster storm

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Northeast began crawling back to normal on Wednesday after monster storm Sandy crippled transportation, knocked out power for millions and killed at least 45 people in nine states with a massive storm surge and rain that caused epic flooding.


Fires raging in New Jersey shore town hit hard by Sandy; 14 homes already destroyed

MANTOLOKING, NJ — Fires that destroyed about 14 homes in a New Jersey shore town that was hit hard by Sandy have rekindled, fueled by natural gas.
Video from WNBC-TV in New York shows flames reaching over Mantoloking. There's a large cluster of flames and smaller fires spread out from it.
An official with the Ocean County Emergency Management Office says authorities believe natural gas lines are fueling the flames. The official says the homes burned down two days ago when Sandy pounded the affluent town.


Atlantic City mayor on Gov. Christie's rebuke: 'Misinformed and ill-advised'

Atlantic City, N.J., famous for its boardwalk and casinos, is underwater this morning. The city's mayor, Lorenzo Langford, calls in to discuss the status of the flooded city and the harsh criticism he received from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

(CNN) – Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford on Tuesday swung back at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's recent jabs suggesting the mayor failed to enforce state-issued evacuation orders ahead of Superstorm Sandy.
"The governor is just wrong–he's dead wrong," Langford said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."


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