Leak forces Waterford shutdown

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 23, 1998

By LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / November 23, 1998

TAFT – Waterford 3 nuclear power plant shut down early Thursday after a leaking reactor coolant valve was discovered.

Entergy spokeswoman Charlotte Thomas reported that the unusual event was not necessary to report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, but it was reported nonetheless.

Control room operators discovered the leak in a reactor coolant pump seal, one of four pumps used by the unit, on Nov. 18 at 4:34 a.m. A controlledcold shutdown began at 7:10 a.m., Nov. 19.The pumps circulate water through the reactor, which heats the water enough to operate the steam electrical generators.

The rate of the leak was a gallon per minute, falling within the technical specifications of the pump, and was not considered a safety risk. However,although it did fall within the technical specifications, the shutdown was performed “to prevent the potential of the leak getting worse,” Thomas explained.

“They acted conservatively and prudently,” she continued.

The spokeswoman added what had failed was a mechanical seal, which began leaking through the shaft sleeve. The pumps are on an 18-monthmaintenance schedule and such problems are normally handled during routine refurbishments during refueling.

This leak, Thomas added, was unexpected.

Repairs should take several days to complete, she concluded.

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