Pilgrim Nuke Plant Forced to Shut Down to Probe Possible Water Leak

PLYMOUTH – The operators of the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Plymouth shut down the facility today after the discovery of a likely water leak inside the feedwater heating system.

The leak was not an immediate safety risk to the public of plant workers.

“The heater with the suspected leak, known as the 5thPoint, is located inside the condenser bay and due to this location, the unit needed to be shut down to allow for a proper inspection and repair under the safest conditions possible,” said Pilgrim spokesman Patrick O’Brien.

“Pilgrim employees and the public remained safe at all times,” he said.

The Nuclear Regulatory Agency has staff on hand at the plant and is monitoring the situation.

“This is an issue they were able to identify and make a decision that they had to get in there and take a closer look, but there’s no impact on the public safety, said NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan.

After this weekend’s recent storm, plant owner Entergy announced that Pilgrim remained operating at 100% during the nor’easter.

Pilgrim was forced to shut down in previous storms.

“Plant personnel are troubleshooting a possible leak involving a feedwater heater. We’re aware of it and are closely tracking Entergy’s efforts to determine if there is a leak occurring and whether any repairs are needed,” said Sheehan.

According to the NRC, feedwater heaters are used to increase the temperature of water before it is pumped into the reactor vessel.

Water is boiled in the reactor, converted into steam and piped to the turbine to spin it and generate electricity.

Excess steam flows to the condenser, where it is cooled down and converted back to water.

Water is fed into the reactor, but not before being heated up.

Pilgrim is scheduled to shut down permanently next year.

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