U.S. NRC inspects cracks at Exelon
Illinois nuke |
June 24, 2003 12:00 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO, June
24 (Reuters) - The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is
inspecting an Exelon Corp. EXC.N
nuclear power plant in Illinois to find what caused cracks in
equipment inside a reactor vessel, the NRC said on Monday.
The cracks were discovered by utility subsidiary Exelon
Generation Co. on June 12 at the twin-reactor Quad Cities
power plant in Cordova, Illinois, the NRC said in a statement.
The cracks were found in part of the Unit 2 steam dryer,
which is inside the reactor vessel above another piece of
equipment called a steam separator and the nuclear fuel.
The NRC, which regulates the nation's 103 atomic power
units, said there was no release of radioactivity from the
steam dryer and no hazard to plant workers or the public.
Quad Cities Unit 2 had been shut to investigate the cause
of moisture in the steam that drives the plant's turbine
generator. The steam dryer is designed to remove moisture from
the steam before it leaves the reactor.
The NRC said the adjacent Quad Cities 1 unit continues to
operate and there is no evidence of cracks in its steam dryer.
The agency's inspection team, which includes metallurgical
experts, will review the causes of the cracks and evaluate
Exelon's repair plans. It will also weigh the potential for
the cracking problems to occur at similar nuclear plants, the
There was no word on how long the inspection could take.
The cracks were found in a cover plate on the steam dryer
and repairs are under way, said Pete Resler, a spokesman for
The Quad Cities station can generate more than 1,700
megawatts of electricity, or power for about 1.7 million
The nuclear power industry has been wrestling with cracking
problems in reactor vessel heads after severe corrosion was
discovered last year at a FirstEnergy Corp. FE.N
power plant in Ohio.