Storm Impact on Nuclear Plants - Oyster Creek, Salem, Indian Point, Peach Bottom, Nine Mile Point

by Bob Meyer

Salem trips due to loss of circ pumps; Indian Point trips due to Main Generator trip; Nine Mile Point Main Generator load rejection/trip; Oyster Creek Intake Structure greater thatn 6 ft. 6 inches and rising, Loss of offsite power and loss of shutdown cooling (restored), loss of spent fuel cooling (restored), loss of major portion of Emergency Evacuation Sirens.

SALEM: MANUAL REACTOR TRIP FROM 100% POWER - Salem Unit 1 was operating at 100% reactor power when a loss of 4 condenser circulators required a manual reactor trip in accordance with station procedures. The cause of the 4 circulators being removed from service was due to a combination of high river level and detritus from Hurricane Sandy's transit.

All control rods inserted. A subsequent loss of the 2 remaining circulators required transition of decay heat removal from condenser steam dumps to the 11-14 MS10s (atmospheric steam dump). Decay heat removal is from the 11/12 Aux Feed Pumps to all 4 steam generators via the 11-14 MS10s. 11/12/13 AFW pumps started due to low level on all steam generators due to shrink from full power operation (this is a normal response). All safety related equipment functioned as expected. No one has been injured. As an additional note, Hurricane Sandy had recently moved past artificial island. Salem Unit 1 is currently in Mode 3. Salem Unit 2 reactor is currently in its 2R19 refueling outage and is shutdown and defueled with no fuel movement in progress.

10 CFR Section: 50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) - RPS ACTUATION - CRITICAL
                              50.72(b)(3)(iv)(A) - VALID SPECIF SYS ACTUATION

INDIAN POINT: AUTOMATIC RPS ACTUATION ON GENERATOR TRIP - On October 29, 2012, at 2241EDT, the Reactor Protection System automatically actuated at 100% reactor power due to a direct electrical trip to the Unit 3 Main Turbine Generator. The generator trip resulted in a turbine/reactor trip. All control rods fully inserted on the reactor trip. All plant equipment responded normally to the unit trip. This is reportable under 10 CFR 50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B). The plant is stable in Mode 3 at this time.

The Auxiliary Feedwater System actuated following the automatic trip as expected. This is reportable under 10 CFR 50.72(b)(3)(iv)(A). The Emergency Diesel Generators did not start as offsite power remained available and stable. The unit remains on offsite power and all electrical loads are stable. No primary or secondary relief valves lifted. The plant is in Hot Standby at normal operating temperature and pressure with decay heat removal using auxiliary feedwater to the steam generators and normal heat removal through the condenser via condenser steam
dumps. There was no radiation released.
10 CFR Section: 50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) - RPS ACTUATION - CRITICAL
                              50.72(b)(3)(iv)(A) - VALID SPECIF SYS ACTUATION

NINE MILE POINT: RPS ACTUATION WHILE CRITICAL DUE TO GENERATOR LOAD REJECT - On October 29, 2012 at 2100 EDT, Nine Mile Point Unit 1 experienced an automatic reactor scram due to a generator load reject. The cause of the load reject is currently under investigation. All control rods fully inserted and all plant systems responded per design following the scram.

Following the automatic scram, the High Pressure Coolant Injection (HPCI) System automatically initiated as expected. At Nine Mile Point Unit 1, a HPCI System actuation signal on low Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) level is normally received following a reactor scram, due to level shrink. HPCI is a flow control mode of the normal feedwater systems, and is not an Emergency Core Cooling System. At 2101 EDT, RPV level was restored above the HPCI System low level actuation set point and the HPCI System initiation signal was reset. Pressure control was established on the Turbine Bypass Valves, the preferred system. Three Electromatic Relief Valves actuated due to this scram and re-closed automatically.

Nine Mile Point Unit 1 is currently in Hot Shutdown, with reactor water level and pressure maintained within normal bands. Decay heat is being removed via steam to the main condenser using bypass valves. Both Reserve Station Transformers are in service and being supplied by their normal power sources. Both Emergency Diesel Generators are operable and in standby.

The unit is currently implementing post scram recovery procedures.
10 CFR Section: 50.72(b)(2)(iv)(B) - RPS ACTUATION - CRITICAL
                              50.72(b)(3)(iv)(A) - VALID SPECIF SYS ACTUATION

OYSTER CREEK: NOTICE OF UNUSUAL EVENT DECLARED DUE TO HIGH INTAKE STRUCTURE WATER LEVEL - At 1855 EDT on 10/29/2012, the licensee declared a Notice of Unusual Event (NOUE) per criteria HU4 for high water level in the station intake structure of greater than 4.5 feet. At the time of the notification, water level in the intake structure was approximate 4.8 feet and slowly rising. The cause of the increased water level was due to storm surge associated with Hurricane Sandy. No other station impacts were reported at the time. The licensee continues to monitor the intake levels and ocean tides.

The licensee has notified the NRC Resident Inspector and the State of New Jersey. 


At 2044 EDT on 10/29/2012, the licensee escalated its emergency declaration to an Alert per criteria HA4 for high water level in the station intake structure of greater than 6.0 feet. At the time of the notification, water level in the intake structure was approximately 6.6 feet. The site also experienced a loss of offsite power event concurrent with the additional water level increase. Both emergency diesel generators started and are supplying power to the emergency electrical busses. Shutdown cooling and spent fuel pool cooling have been restored. Reactor pressure vessel level is steady at 584.7 inches. Intake levels continues to rise slowly and the licensee is monitoring.

The licensee has notified the NRC Resident Inspector and the State of New Jersey.

Notified DHS SWO, FEMA Ops Center, USDA Ops Center, HHS Ops Center, DOE Ops Center, DHS NICC Watch Officer, EPA EOC, and NuclearSSA via e-mail. 


The licensee updated this report with an 8-hour non-emergency notification of emergency diesel generator auto-actuation due to the actual loss of off-site power event [which occurred at 2018 EDT on 10/29/2012]. This event caused a valid RPS actuation with automatic containment isolations that resulted in a temporary loss of shut-down cooling to the reactor. Shutdown cooling was subsequently restored with power provided by the emergency diesel generators.

As of 0320 EDT on 10/30/12, it was determined that 36 of the 43 Emergency Planning Zone sirens were out of service, and the license continues work to rectify the issue.

PEACH BOTTOM: LOSS OF EMERGENCY SIRENS DUE TO IMPACTS FROM HURRICANE SANDY - Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station Control Room was notified of a loss of greater than 25% of sirens after severe storms in the area associated with Hurricane Sandy. Thirty-one (31) of 97 Emergency Planning Zone (EPZ) sirens are currently unavailable in Lancaster, York, Cecil and Harford Counties. Actions are currently being taken to restore unavailable sirens.

10 CFR Section: 50.72(b)(3)(xiii) - LOSS COMM/ASMT/RESPONSE

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