nuclear power

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

Hundreds of people came to Oswego's Nine Mile Point Nuclear Learning Center to get a better understanding of how the power plants work and what employees do each day to keep the plant working properly.

The event allowed visitors, including nine-year-old Ethann Browne, to see first hand how employees are trained in its two reactor simulators.

"I already like researching nuclear power and learning much about it, but I'm here today to learn more about nuclear power from the professionals."
 

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the operators of the James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Scriba failed to replace the plant's condenser tubes when they should have.

When the power plant goes offline later this year for refueling, the condenser tubes at the facility will also be replaced.

Constellation Energy Group

Oswego County's three nuclear energy facilities will soon begin a project to replace the county's aging public warning system.

Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, which owns the two Nine Mile Point nuclear plants, and Entergy, which owns the James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant, will invest more than $1.5 million to replace the existing sirens in the ten mile radius around the plants.

Jill Lyon, with Constellation, says the sirens are currently used by several groups.

Constellation Energy Group

For the second time in less than a week, the Nine Mile Point Unit 2 nuclear power plant in Oswego County experienced an automatic shutdown, due to a problem at the plant. 

The shutdown happened around 4:30 p.m. Monday. According to a spokesperson from Constellation Energy, which owns the plant, a worker "inadvertently contacted a highly sensitive plant component." As a result, safety systems shut down the plant automatically. 

Constellation Energy Group

Nine Mile Point 2 was shut down early this morning after losing power from a supply unit in the plant.

Neil Sheehan, a public affairs officer for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the loss of power effected cooling flow to both of the plant's reactor recirculation pumps.

"The operators at the plant, in turn, manually scrammed or shut down the reactor," Sheehan said. "And that means they inserted all the control rods, halted the fissioning process and, therefore, the plant was no longer heating up water and generating electricity."

United States Government Work

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a citation to the owners of the Ginna nuclear power plant in upstate New York. Preliminary inspection findings released Tuesday cited the plant for failure to address a long-standing flood risk. The issue is considered a low-to-moderate level safety concern.

It all comes down to an improperly sealed manhole at the plant, which could have allowed flood waters to breach the rooms housing emergency batteries.

The plummeting cost of natural gas is affecting energy companies' decisions on whether to start new production facilities, and that goes for nuclear energy, too.

Earlier this month, UniStar Nuclear Energy pulled its application to build its third nuclear power plant at Nine Mile Point in Scriba, citing a lack of federal funding as the main problem.

Federal officials gave Oswego County's nuclear power complex a good grade after an emergency preparedness drill conducted this week.

Plant workers and emergency officials had to respond to a simulated equipment malfunction and radiation leak, where the wind then shifted.

"They have to react and they have to react quickly and that’s one of the things we’re looking for; to make sure that they understand what the change means, what it implies, and what to do about it," says FEMA's Rebecca Thomson.

The potential for disaster at nuclear power plants is the message of a "peace walk" that will take place around Lake Ontario and started this week in Onondaga County.