A piece of metal from a broken impeller blade ended up lodged in the reactor vessel at Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in Covert Township, MI.

Workers discovered the issue during the nuclear power plant’s scheduled refueling and maintenance shutdown, which began Jan. 19. The metal is 5 inches by 12 inches long, said Lindsay Rose, spokeswoman for Entergy Corp., which owns Palisades. The piece is in the reactor vessel between the vessel wall and the flow skirt, inside the vessel.

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Entergy said they are not going to do anything about the broken blade.

Efforts to remove the metal were unsuccessful. At this point, Entergy plans to leave it in place, saying it does not pose a safety risk.

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“We took steps to remove it. We’ve thoroughly analyzed it and we’ve determined that, based on the location of where it is, it’s not going to have any impact on safe operations. We do not believe it is going to move from its location,” Rose said. “It has not compromised safe operations and it is not expected to.”

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) might allow Palisades to continue to operate with the piece of metal in place.

The NRC will have the final say on whether the metal represents a safety-significant issue, NRC senior public affairs officer Viktoria Mitlyng said.

“If they propose to leave the metal in the reactor core, they have to provide analysis and justify to the NRC that leaving that in there would not have an impact on the safe operation of the reactor,” she said.

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