August 15, 2012 / 6:02 PM / 5 years ago

NRC to inspect leak at Entergy's Palisades reactor in Michigan

Aug 15 (Reuters) - The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said on Wednesday it started a special inspection at Entergy Corp’s Palisades nuclear power plant in Michigan to review a leak from a control rod drive mechanism inside the containment building.

The 793-MW unit was shut after a leak was identified Aug. 12.

The leak has not resulted in a release of radiation to the environment and is not a threat to public health and safety, the agency said.

Since July, the NRC has been monitoring a gradual increase of unidentified leakage at the reactor and sought safety assurances from Entergy on those leaks.

The plant is required to shut when the unidentified leak rate exceeds 1 gallon per minute (gpm). At the point of shutdown, the unidentified leakage was about 0.3 gallon per minute, the NRC said.

The limit for this area is 0 gpm and the plant will need to fix the leak before returning to operation, the regulator said.

The three-member inspection will review the utility’s monitoring of the leak and subsequent plant shutdown, verify the adequacy of radiological controls, evaluate any potential degradation and review the plant’s repair action, the NRC said in a statement.

The team will also review the plant’s reporting requirements and their plan for addressing the cause of the event, the NRC said.

Entergy shut the plant in June due to leakage from a refueling water tank.

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