Among 6 worst-run U.S. reactors, Pilgrim fumbles SCRAM

On January 26, 2015, the NRC announced that Pilgrim is being kept in a watch list of poorly-operated reactors. Less than 24 hours later, Pilgrim experienced an unplanned, disorderly shutdown as winter storm Juno raged. Both Entergy and the Commonwealth have repeatedly told the press that there was “no threat to the safety of the public”, which is absurd, if for no other reason than, had there been a severe accident, the evacuation plans would have proven themselves worthless as most roads were impassible – indeed there was a state-ordered travel ban in place.

Citizen’s groups had asked the NRC to require that Pilgrim be shutdown as a precaution before the storm hit, to no avail. See the Cape Cod Times article and Cape Cod Bay Watch’s Pilgrim’s Problems: Juno, Scrams, and Useless Back-up Plans

Entergy filed 2 event reports: for the SCRAM and for the failure of the High Pressure Coolant Injection System


NRC Special Inspection Team to Review Pilgrim Shutdown

NRC will be sending a Special Inspection Team to Pilgrim on Monday to review the circumstances surrounding an unplanned reactor shutdown that occurred Jan. 27 during the snow storm. The team will comprise four or five technical staffers who will be reviewing the licensee’s response to equipment problems that occurred following the reactor scram, while the plant was going to cold shutdown. The inspectors will be onsite probably for the entire week, and may end up going back again, depending on whether they get all of the information they need.

Jenny Weil
Congressional Affairs Officer
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission


Date: January 29, 2015

[NRC] PRELIMINARY NOTIFICATION OF EVENT OR UNUSUAL OCCURRENCE – PNO-I-15-001

This preliminary notification constitutes EARLY notice of events of POSSIBLE safety or public interest significance. Some of the information may not yet be fully verified or evaluated by the Region I staff.

Facility Licensee Emergency Classification
Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. ___ Notification of Unusual Event
Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station ___ Alert
Plymouth, MA ___ Site Area Emergency
Docket No. 50-293 ___ General Emergency
License No. DPR-35 X Not Applicable

SUBJECT: PILGRIM NUCLEAR POWER STATION: SHUTDOWN GREATER THAN 72
HOURS DUE TO REACTOR SCRAM FOLLOWING A PARTIAL LOSS OF OFFSITE POWER

On January 27, 2015, Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station experienced an automatic scram following a turbine trip due to a partial loss of offsite power. The station was experiencing high winds and heavy snowfall during a severe winter storm when the station began experiencing degrading switchyard conditions. The station had already transferred the emergency busses onto their respective emergency diesel generators and was downpowering to 20% power to take the turbine offline. At 4:02 a.m. with the reactor at 52% power, the second offsite line was lost and the station experienced a load reject.

The station experienced equipment issues while cooling down after the scram including: the station diesel air compressor failed to start, one of four safety relief valves could not be operated manually from the control room, and high pressure coolant injection had to be secured due to failure of the gland seal motor.

The station is currently in cold shutdown, the safety buses are being powered by their respective emergency diesel generators, and all safety-related equipment required for safe plant shutdown are available. The licensee is working on restoring their 345kV lines.

Resident inspectors and region-based inspectors are providing oversight and performing follow-up inspections.

This preliminary notification is issued for information only.

The information presented herein has been discussed with the licensee and is current as of 1:00 p.m. on January 29, 2015. Commonwealth of Massachusetts officials have been kept informed.

ADAMS Accession Number: ML15029A433

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