“Consequences of a defective pressurizer could be catastrophic”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 25, 2017
Contact: Nancy Burton/NancyBurtonCT@aol.com
The Connecticut Coalition Against Millstone has joined Beyond Nuclear in petitioning the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to impose an immediate shutdown of Millstone Unit 2 in Waterford over disclosures of a potentially defective pressurizer, a safety-critical component.
The petition, filed on January 24, 2017 with the NRC, identifies Millstone Unit 2 as one of 17 nuclear reactors across the country operating with potentially defective critical-to-public-safety parts, including reactor pressure vessels, reactor pressure vessel lids and steam generators, all manufactured by a French company, Areva.
The petition seeks emergency shutdowns of Millstone 2 and the other identified reactors pending enhanced inspections of at-risk components.
“This is just the latest emergency in the trouble-plagued operations of Millstone 2, now brittle and enfeebled as it enters its 42nd year,” said Nancy Burton, director of the watchdog Coalition.
“Millstone 2 is a nuclear lemon that has been squeezed dry by a company driven by profit rather than safety,” she added. “It’s beyond time for composting in the nuclear scrapheap.”
Millstone 2’s pressurizer is designed to maintain pressure in the primary system and must keep the coolant in the reactor system in liquid state under severe temperature and pressure conditions.
“These components are now part of a global controversy as at-risk to failure as the result of the lack of quality control during the forging process of the large steel ingots where excess carbon was introduced and made the finished products susceptible to pressure-thermal shock failure, embrittlement, cracking and rapid tearing under pressure,” said Paul Gunter, of Beyond Nuclear, a national anti-nuclear organization based in Maryland.
“The reliability of these components has been further compromised by potential falsification of quality control and quality assurance documentation which is also under investigation [involving] foreign reactors,” Gunter said.
A briefing issued by Greenpeace in June 2016 states:
“This equipment [including pressurizers] must be extremely robust and operate to the highest mechanical standard to ensure total safety.
“Most of it is designed according to the ‘break preclusion’ principle: because the consequences of a sudden breakdown would be too serious to manage, safety inspections must guarantee that the irreproachable quality of the design and manufacture of the parts excludes any possibility of breakage during use.
“For this reason, potential irregularities in parts and, to an even greater degree, possible falsifications in the reports which call into question manufacturing quality, represent a serious safety threat.”
Three nuclear reactors Dominion operates in Virginia – one at Surry and two at North Anna – are also among the facilities identified as operating with potentially defective components manufactured by Areva.
Eleven other nations (France, UK , Sweden , Switzerland , Belgium , Spain , Slovenia , Brazil , China , South Korea , South Africa ) have operating nuclear reactors installed with potentially defective Areva components. In France, flaws found in the manufacturing process at Areva’s LeCreuset Forge have prompted the shutdown of 20 nuclear reactors with Areva components.
On January 7, 2017 , the Coalition filed a FOI request with Rob Klee, Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection seeking agency documents pertaining to the Unit 2 pressurizer. The DEEP is the NRC’s government liaison in Connecticut . Although the FOI Act requires an agency’s “prompt” compliance with a FOI request, as of January 25, 2017 , access to such public records has not been provided.
Link to Beyond Nuclear Press Release
Link to Emergency Petition
Link to Greenpeace Briefing (“Anomalies and suspected falsifications at Areva’s Creusot Forge site: Overview”)