Hurricane Sandy triggers low-level alert at N.J. Oyster Creek nuclear plant

The plant currently in a regularly scheduled outage declared the alert at about 8:45 p.m. EDT October 30 due to water exceeding certain high water level criteria in the plant s water intake structure

Toms River, N.J., October 30, 2012 — The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is continuing to monitor impacts from Hurricane Sandy on nuclear power plants in the Northeastern U.S. including an alert declared at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey said a release from the commission.

The plant currently in a regularly scheduled outage declared the alert at about 8:45 p.m. EDT October 30 due to water exceeding certain high water level criteria in the plant s water intake structure.

An alert is the second lowest of four NRC action levels.

The alert was preceded by an unusual event declared at about 7 p.m. EDT October 30 when the water level first reached a minimum high water level criteria. Water level is rising in the intake structure due to a combination of a rising tide wind direction and storm surge. It is anticipated water levels will begin to abate within the next several hours.

As of 9 p.m. EDT October 29 no plants had to shut down as a result of the storm although several plants were already out of service for regularly scheduled refueling and maintenance outages. All plants remain in a safe condition with emergency equipment available if needed and NRC inspectors on site.

The NRC has inspectors providing around the clock coverage at all of the plants that could experience effects of the storm.

These include: Oyster Creek in Lacey Township N.J. Salem and Hope Creek in Hancocks Bridge N.J. Calvert Cliffs in Lusby Md. Limerick in Limerick Township Pa. Peach Bottom in Delta Pa. Three Mile Island in Middletown Pa. Susquehanna in Salem Township Pa. Indian Point in Buchanan N.Y. and Millstone in Waterford Conn. Those inspectors will independently verify that operators are following relevant procedures to ensure plant safety before during and after the storm.

In addition the NRC is monitoring the storm from its emergency response centers.

Nuclear power plant procedures require that the facilities shut down under certain severe weather conditions.

The plants emergency diesel generators are available if off site power is lost during the storm. Also all plants have flood protection above the predicted storm surge and key components and systems are housed in watertight buildings capable of withstanding hurricane force winds and flooding.

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