FPL shuts down nuclear reactor on Hutchinson Island


HUTCHINSON ISLAND — One of the two nuclear reactors at the St. Lucie Plant was taken offline at 5:31 a.m. Tuesday "to investigate and repair a problem with one of the unit's four reactor coolant pumps," Florida Power & Light Co. officials said in a statement.

There were no radiological or other health hazards, and power officials deemed the situation minor.

The same reactor unit had to be shut down in August after radioactive water used to cool it leaked from a pipe inside the containment building, though the problem wasn't serious enough to declare an emergency.

An FPL spokeswoman said it was unclear Tuesday how long repairs would take to fix the latest problem, but the plant's other reactor operating at full power ensured there weren't any outages.

"This is safety systems working the way they are supposed to..." said April Schilpp, FPL's director of nuclear communications. "It really is the unique nature of nuclear power that requires us to take these things offline (to make any repairs)."

The problem was with a reactor coolant pump, which circulates water through the coolant system.

"We're going to ensure the repairs are made safely before we bring the unit back online," Schilpp said.

January 2008: The lowest-level type of unusual event emergency was declared for 13 minutes after a hydrogen gas leak in a non-nuclear area at the plant.

October 2007: A 350-gallon lubrication oil spill occurred under a nonradioactive generator.

August 2007: A nuclear reactor remained shut down after radioactive water used to cool it leaked from a pipe inside the dome-shaped containment building. But power and federal officials said there was never a danger to public safety.

FPL and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission


Old story

Old story. That story was posted January 30, 2008. Both units are operating at 100% power, puting out over 1000 MW each, post EPU outages.

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