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After discovering degraded coatings in a portion of the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant’s reactor containment, the operator just received a Confirmatory Action Letter (CAL).

The plant, operated by DTE Electric Company, is located in Newport, MI, 25 miles northeast of Toledo, Ohio.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) raised questions regarding the degradation of the coating inside the torus, a donut- shaped component of the reactor containment located below the reactor vessel, during a May 2019 engineering inspection. As a result, in July, the NRC initiated a special inspection to conduct an in-depth review of the issue.

The torus is designed to absorb energy from the reactor or supply water to safety systems during an accident. Partially filled with water, the inside of the torus is coated with paint to prevent corrosion. If the coating were to separate from the torus wall, the resulting debris could potentially affect the flow of water to safety-related equipment.

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Despite the finding, the NRC continues to ensure the licensee is operating the plant safely.

As a result of the questions raised during the NRC’s inspections and subsequent DTE reviews, the company submitted a letter to the NRC committing to mitigate the degraded coating in the torus during the next refueling outage, to begin no later than April 30, 2020.

The NRC will review and evaluate DTE’s actions in response to the CAL to make sure they are thorough and complete.

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