Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018
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Davis-Besse expected to be at full power today

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OAK HARBOR, Ohio — FirstEnergy Corp.’s Davis-Besse nuclear reactor is expected to be back at full power today.

The plant resumed operation Tuesday and synchronized to the region’s electrical grid at 11:11 p.m., ending an unplanned outage that began Saturday after a pipe burst in the turbine building and leaked steam into it.

Nuclear reactors typically are at about 20 percent power when plants are producing enough electricity to be synchronized to the grid.

Ohio is part of a 13-state regional electric grid operated by PJM Interconnection.

A U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission log shows Davis-Besse was operating at 33 percent by Wednesday morning.

Jennifer Young, FirstEnergy spokesman, said operators were gradually ascending the reactor’s power.

They performed an emergency shutdown, known as a scram, on Saturday after instrumentation in the control room tipped them off at 6:55 p.m. to the steam leak in the nonnuclear turbine building, which is adjacent to the reactor building but separate from it.

Workers welded two portions of 4-inch pipe that serves as a drain line from the feedwater heater.

According to a notice FirstEnergy gave the NRC, there was no other known damage.

“All systems functioned as expected,” the notice stated, also stating there were no reported injuries.

Viktoria Mitlyng, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman, has said the utility needs to determine the root cause of the rupture. The NRC wants to know if it was an isolated break or if other pipes have become weakened.

The incident is considered an unusual event, but ranked in the lowest level for emergencies.

The inspection and restart were overseen by the NRC resident inspectors, according to Ms. Mitlyng.

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