TVA checking possible
Sequoyah Tenn. nuke lid leak
NEW YORK, March 27 (Reuters)
- TVA Nuclear said Thursday it was checking a possible leak in the
reactor lid at a Tennessee plant that may be similar to leaks at
other reactors already expected to cost the U.S. nuclear industry
over $1 billion to repair.
Indications of a leak were found in the reactor lid
capping the 1,148 megawatt Sequoyah nuclear unit 1 in Soddy-Daisy
along the Tennessee River in southeastern Tennessee, TVA spokesman
Terry Johnson said.
personal were doing an inspection on the reactor vessel head and
they found indications of a boric acid leak on top of the reactor
vessel," Johnson said.
nuclear power industry was taken by surprise early last year when a
hole eaten by boric acid from a cooling system was found in the lid
of the FirstEnergy's 925 MW Davis-Besse plant in Oak Harbor,
The discovery of the hole
prompted the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to order special
reactor vessel head inspections at all 69 of the nation's
pressurized water reactors, which are the same design as
water reactors make up about 12 percent of U.S. power generation
Companies that are
willing to talk about the cost have estimated the reactor vessel
head replacement at about $60 million per unit.
The Sequoyah plant is a newer design than
Davis-Besse, and had been deemed by the NRC to be of a lower
susceptibility to vessel head corrosion.
TVA had said late last year that it did not expect
to replace the reactor vessel heads at the two Sequoyah nuclear unit
However, TVA's Johnson said
Thursday those plans could change in light of the recent indications
of a lid leak.
"It is too early
to tell whether or not there will be a vessel head replacement --
that is going to be a decision based on what we find as we continue
to conduct these inspections on the reactor vessel," he
The potential leak was
discovered while the plant was shut for scheduled refueling and
steam generator replacement, and presented no danger to the public
or plant personnel, he said.
The NRC, the nation's federal nuclear watchdog,
said it was too early to tell if the potential leak would mean
further increased scrutiny of reactor vessel
"They still need to do
more testing to find out exactly what they are dealing with (at
Sequoyah)," NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said.
"Depending on what those results come out to be,
the staff here will see if anything warrants a change in the
inspection regime," he said.
One megawatt is roughly enough to power 1,000
Reuters News Service