NRC Continues to Monitor Sandy, Including Alert at Oyster Creek Plant

The NRC continues to monitor impacts of Sandy on nuclear power plants in the Northeastern U.S., including an Alert declared at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey. The plant, currently in a regularly scheduled outage, declared the Alert at approximately 8:45 p.m. EDT due to water exceeding certain high water level criteria in the plant’s water intake structure.

An Alert is the second lowest of four NRC action levels. The Alert was preceded by an Unusual Event, declared at approximately 7 p.m., EDT, when the water first reached a minimum high water level criteria. Water level is rising in the intake structure due to a combination of a rising tide, wind direction and storm surge. It is anticipated water levels will begin to abate within the next several hours.

As of 9 p.m. EDT Monday, no plants had to shut down as a result of the storm although several plants were already out of service for regularly scheduled refueling and maintenance outages. All plants remain in a safe condition, with emergency equipment available if needed.

The NRC has inspectors providing around the clock coverage at all of the plants that could experience effects of the storm, and agency response experts continue to monitor the storm from our emergency response centers, and track it as it travels inland.

It’s important to remember that nuclear power plant procedures require that the facilities shut down under certain severe weather conditions. The plants’ emergency diesel generators are available if off-site power is lost during the storm. Also, all plants have flood protection above the predicted storm surge, and key components and systems are housed in watertight buildings capable of withstanding hurricane-force winds and flooding.

Eliot Brenner
Public Affairs Director

Author: Moderator

Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

13 thoughts on “NRC Continues to Monitor Sandy, Including Alert at Oyster Creek Plant”

  1. Having been a primary regional HP inspector for many years at SONGS, prior to the NRC closing Region V and my retirement in 1997, things sure have deteriorated at SONGS from a model plant stand point. Evidently Corporate QA audits & site QA audits have not detected the degradation at the plant in employee moral and management practices. Something also tells me the NRC regional inspectors are not interfacing with rank & file workers and 1st line supervisors in a meaningful way. They are just checking off inspection points.

  2. Plant safety related components need to be designed to function under all environmental conditions, including floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, heat, snowpack, etc. If they need to be in watertight/proof rooms they will be. For flooding several plant components and systems are simply elevated above ground level by 15+ feet.

  3. All U.S. nuclear power plants are currently responding to NRC Orders based on lessons learned from Fukushima. The NRC is requiring all reactors to obtain additional portable emergency equipment and additional monitoring equipment for spent fuel pools. For plants with “Mark I” and “Mark II” designs similar to Fukushima, the NRC is requiring upgrades or new installation of vent systems to enhance the plants’ abilities to safely deal with potential accidents. Oyster Creek’s permanently installed equipment, as well as existing portable backups, have been performing as designed to keep the plant in a safe state during and after Sandy’s passage across southern New Jersey.

  4. So a realistic interpretation of the NRC statement is that “ALL” of the important plant components, including all levels of emergency backup, are contained in “water tight buildings”. And of course this would have to mean every single NPP. Is this true, or is this statement taking it too far?

  5. Yes, thank you for the updates, moderator, NRC, and Oyster Creek! Thanks for all you do, too.

  6. Only Oyster Creek lost off-site power. The emergency diesel generators have been providing power to provide cooling to the reactor and the spent fuel pool. The other plants that shut down during the storm – Salem 1, Nine Mile Point 1 and Indian Point 3 – did not lose off-site power.

  7. This SONGS Long-Time Dedicated Worker wanted to go to an Industry Conference at his own expense and using his vacation. The purpose of his visit was so he could help improve the Company Management’s performance with the new industry information, he received at the Conference.

    His Supervisor’s were not approving his repeated requests for vacation because they were afraid that he may disclose the insider secrets to others at the Conference for the Company’s Lagging and Chronic Worst Safety Record and Management’s Retaliation of Workers for expressing Nuclear Safety Concerns. So this worker went to the One of the Company’s TOP Bosses and told him his concerns and this story,” Sir, when I was in College, I went to visit my father, who was a Top Executive with the Government. My father was on a temporary assignment on a Large Government Farm with thousand of workers reporting to him. My father’s assignment was ending, so we were waiting for a Train to take us back home. But the train tracks were blocked by thousands of Farm Workers. So when I enquired, the Farm Workers said, ’Sir, We do not want this “Kind Officer” to leave because he fought with the Central Government and got us 2 pair of shoes. The Workers said, ’We have been working on this farm all our lives without shoes and our feet get “cut and bleed” from stones and other sharp objects working in the farm. We are thankful that this Officer went, because he went out of his way, put his job on the line and got us these pair of shoes with a “Great Smile” without expecting any, ”Raises, Rewards or Recognition” in Return.”

    So the concerned worker told the TOP Boss, “Sir, I have tripped many times and have hurt my toes. I am very thankful to the Company for providing me a Free ‘Pair of Steel Toed Shoes.’ Now I can perform my job and walk anywhere in the Plant without any fear of hurting “My Toes. I have been working here a long time. I work long hours, including weekends and from home without charging any overtime to the Company. Like my father, I provide these services with a “Great Smile” without expecting any ‘Raises, Rewards or Recognition” in Return.’ Sir, can you please help me and tell these Supervisor’s to approve my Vacation. The end result was ‘No Action’ and the Worker lost his money on Air Line Tickets, was insulted, intimidated and retaliated by his Supervisors because the Worker went to the Top Boss for help against their wishes.”

    SONGS was an INPO Plant 1 in 1998 and a beautiful place to work. The workers were always smiling, relaxed and used to greet each other at lunch and take a walk on the Beach. The workers will often say, “What a Great Place to work, get paid, go home safe and happy to your family.” In 2012, SONGS is an INPO 4 Plant with the Worst Safety, Maintenance and Worker Retaliation Record.” On top of that, SONGS Senior Management Team and Engineers are being accused of wasting 600 Million Dollars of Ratepayers Money on Replacement Steam Generators and telling lies to NRC, CPUC, News Media and Public. Like an Old Plant Operator Says, “The working conditions are chaotic and horrible at SONGS and some of these ‘Money Hungry Tigers’ Senior Management Team Leaders have turned this place into a ‘Federal Nuclear Prison.” NRC, SONGS Employee Concerns and Human Resource Departments are unable to stop these “Money Hungry Tigers’ and “Lawless Mob” from using these “Unlawful Tactics.”

  8. Wow, just like the reinforcement speeches given by the Japanese regulators for the Fukushima plants, before the water hit. Also, the Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station is similar to the destroyed Fukushima plants. Has the lessons learned from the Fukushima accidents been implemented at the old Oyster Creek BWR plant?

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