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Degraded area in Pennsylvania nuclear plant poses no risk-FirstEnergy
October 7, 2013 / 6:48 PM / 4 years ago

Degraded area in Pennsylvania nuclear plant poses no risk-FirstEnergy

Oct 7 (Reuters) - FirstEnergy Corp said on Monday a
small area of degradation found in the steel containment liner
in one of the reactors at Pennsylvania's Beaver Valley nuclear
power plant poses no harm to the public, workers or the
environment.
    FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young said workers found
the flaw on Friday during an inspection of the inside walls of
the containment building in the 892-megawatt Unit 1, which has
been shut since September 30 for a refueling and maintenance
outage.
    The containment building is comprised of a 4.5-foot thick
concrete wall with a domed top and a 3/8-inch thick steel liner.
    The degraded area is located about 7 inches (17.8
centimeters) from the floor and measures about 0.4 inches by
0.28 inches, she said.
    Young did not say when the unit would return to service but
noted the company expects to fix the degraded area within the
current outage schedule.
    Refueling outages usually last about a month but power
traders noted this outage could take up to two months because
the company is replacing the unit's two low pressure steam
turbine rotors. Each rotor weighs about 153 tons and measures
about 15 feet in diameter and about 30 feet in long.
    Workers discovered the degraded area under a small paint
blister. The company determined there was a fibrous material -
most likely wood - inside the concrete touching the steel liner.
    The company said the degradation likely occurred when the
material decayed.
    Young said a similar event occurred in 2009 when workers
found a small area of degradation in another part of the steel
liner. In that case, the damage was caused by a wood spacer left
over from the concrete pour during construction.
    She said the company in 2009 removed and replaced the
damaged steel and the area has not experienced any additional
degradation.

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PLANT BACKGROUND/TIMELINE   
STATE:     Pennsylvania   
TOWN:      Shippingport in Beaver County, some 35 miles (56 km) 
           northwest of Pittsburgh   
OPERATOR:  FirstEnergy Nuclear   
OWNER(S):  FirstEnergy   
CAPACITY:  1,777 MW   
UNIT(S):   - Unit 1 - 892-MW Westinghouse pressurized water   
           reactor (PWR)   
           - Unit 2 - 885-MW Westinghouse PWR   
FUEL:      Nuclear   
DISPATCH:  Baseload    

TIMELINE:   
1976 -     Unit 1 enters service   
1987 -     Unit 2 enters service   
2007 -     FirstEnergy filed with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory   
           Commission to renew the reactors' original 40-year   
           operating licenses for another 20 years   
2009 -     NRC renews operating licenses   
2036 -     Unit 1 license expires   
2047 -     Unit 2 license expires

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