Unit 2 of the Susquehanna nuclear power plant restarted one week after radioactive water was leaking in the Luzerne County, PA, facility.
The leak, inside a room in the plant’s Unit 2 reactor building, prompted an “unusual event” declaration. An unusual event is the first of the four emergency classifications established by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) for nuclear power plants.
The problem had no effect on public safety and required no public action, according to PPL Corp., the Allentown, PA-based company that partly owns and operates the plant.
Unit 2 was not operating when workers found the leak. PPL shut the nuke down a day earlier for an unplanned inspection of the unit’s turbine blades after a sensor detected an abnormality.
Since then, workers cleaned up the radioactive water and the turbines repaired, PPL said.
The company said in a press release that workers replaced a small number of turbine blades showing “indications of cracking.”
“Plant engineers will continue to closely monitor the performance of the blades,” the company said. PPL Susquehanna community relations manager Joseph J. Scopelliti said last week the turbine problem was “completely unrelated” to the water leak.
Scopelliti blamed the leak on a faulty valve on one of the plant’s multiple cooling systems and described the water as having “very low levels of contamination.” He said they could reuse it within the plant after it drains.
The plant’s Unit 1 reactor has continued to run at full power.
The last time the Susquehanna plant declared an unusual event was after an earthquake in August 2011. A year before that, the plant declared a higher-level “alert” when a Freon leak rendered a room with critical equipment temporarily off-limits.
The Susquehanna plant, in Luzerne County about seven miles north of Berwick. PPL Susquehanna LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. jointly own the plant, which PPL Susquehanna operates.
PPL Susquehanna LLC is one of PPL Corp.’s generating affiliates.