Oyster Creek prepared for Sandy “Frankenstorm”. Alert issued at oldest NPP in the U.S.

The NRC declared an “Alert” action level for a 615 MW nuclear power plant in Oyster Creek, New Jersey:

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is continuing to monitor impacts from Hurricane Sandy on nuclear power plants in the Northeastern United States, 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 level 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.”

NRC spokesman informed. Water levels at the plant rose by more than 6.5 feet, potentially affecting the pumps that circulate water through the plant. A further rise to 7 feet could submerge the service water pump motor that is used to cool the water in the spent fuel pool. The used uranium rods in the pool could cause the water to boil within 25 hours without additional coolant; in an extreme scenario the rods could overheat, risking the eventual release of radiation.The spokesman said the company could use water from a fire hose to cool the pool if necessary.

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