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Braidwood leaks radioactive steam April 7, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Nuclear Power.

I don't run a nuke plant but jeez, these people are idiots. Exelon. Morons.

Here's the statement from Exelon, nada from the NRC thus far.

UPDATE: They just didn't make it obvious. There is a preliminary report available, (PDF here).

It is actually a "Preliminary Notification of Event or Unusual Occurence," which is different from the event reports compiled on my Nuclear Emergencies Database.

From the report:

"This preliminary notification constitutes EARLY notice of events of POSSIBLE safety or public interest significance. The information is as initially received without verification or evaluation, and is basically all that is known by the Region III staff on this date."

Heres the rest of what is in the PDF (more on Braidwood follows):

At 1:25 p.m. CDT on April 6, 2006, the Unit 2 25B drain cooler relief valve in the feedwater system lifted and remained open, resulting in secondary plant steam being released to the environment through a vent in the turbine building wall.

In response to the event, operators reduced reactor power to 96 percent in preparation for isolating the drain cooler. At 5:47 p.m. the feedwater heater was isolated, stopping the steam flow to the atmosphere.

Approximately 114,000 gallons of feedwater was released as steam. Most of the steamcondensed on plant property, and the water was collected and pumped back into the plant. The secondary system (feedwater) was known to contain tritium as a result of past leakage tothe secondary system from the liquid radioactive waste processing system. Because of the known presence of tritium, the licensee sampled various on-site locations for tritium contamination.

The sampling results indicated up to 46,000 picocuries per liter of tritium on plant property, with concentrations between 400-600 picocuries per liter in a ditch. About 500 gallons of water is believed to have entered this ditch. The licensee dammed the ditch and pumped most of the water back to the plant. The licensee is conducting additional on-site sampling and will determine whether off-site testing will be necessary. The licensee analyzed the samples for other radionuclides and none were detected.

Following the isolation of the drain cooler, the licensee replaced the relief valve, and returned the cooler to service with plans to return the unit to full power. Additionally, the licensee is investigating the cause of the relief valve failure.

The Braidwood plant has had further problems, some recently, which is why the State of Illinois is suing the Exelon corporation for tritium releases dating back to 1996. Braidwood first reported possible off-site tritium migration on Dec. 1, 2005, they updated those reports four times.

Report links, tritium migration, Braidwood:

Dec. 1, 2005
Dec. 7, 2005 
Jan. 18, 2005 
Feb. 3, 2006 
March 15, 2006

Other recent reports on tritium related issues at Braidwood:

April 7, 2006
March 30, 2006

Of course, Braidwood isn't the only Illinois power plant to experience tritium contamination problems. There is this report about Byron/Dresden, dated Feb. 15, 2006 and updated on March 31, 2006.

Tritium leaking is a pretty big problem, that is consistenly downplayed by Exelon. The lawsuit makes sense. As Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said, "Faulty maintenance led to this situation and to this lawsuit."



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