Share This Page

Malfunction prompts shutdown at nuclear plant in Berwick

| Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012, 5:06 p.m.

SALEM TWP. — One of the two nuclear reactors at PPL's Susquehanna plant near Berwick was shut down early Friday because a computer system that controls the reactor's water level was not functioning properly.

Operators and federal regulators are investigating the cause of the computer problems at Unit 2, according to a press release from the company, which said the reactor remained in “a safe condition.”

U.S. nuclear spokesman Neil Sheehan said operators manually shut down the reactor at 1:18 a.m. by inserting control rods after monitors showed lowered water levels in two systems: one that circulates water inside the reactor to maintain safe temperatures and one that channels water through the reactor to produce steam to drive turbines.

“There were no releases of radiation, no complications, no danger to plant workers or the public,” Sheehan said.

He said Unit 2 will remain offline until the cause of the computer malfunction is found and corrected.

The PPL press release said that while Unit 2 is shut down, employees will begin a previously announced inspection of turbine blades. Cracks in turbine blades in both units were discovered in 2011.

Unit 1 was shut down last month for a similar inspection. Sheehan said Unit 1 came back online last week after several blades were replaced.

The company says it plans to modify the turbines to resolve the cracking issues during refueling and maintenance outages scheduled for 2013.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.