Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Incident at French Penly-2 Nuclear Power Plant Classified INES Level-1

French nuclear safety authority (ASN) has classified a small fire and a leak in the reactor building of unit 2 at the Penly nuclear power station a level-1 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES).

Smoke detectors released a fire alarm in the compartment of one of the four main reactor circulation pumps of the PWR unit 2 at Electricité de France's (EDF) Penly nuclear power site with two 1.300-megawatt pressurized reactor units at the French north-coast.

The operator declared a site alarm and informed local and national authorities. The fire brigade managed to locate the source of the fire and extinguish it successfully. The source was spilled lubrication oil of the main pump according to a provisional report by Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN).

Follow-up investigation by the operator showed that a bearing had lost oil and overheated. The pump damage released a reactor scram. Further investigation showed the pump was leaking and radioactive primary coolant liquid flew into the collection receptacle of the unit. EDF decided to depressurize and cool down the unit. This measure stopped the leakage.

According to EDF, no persons were injured, no radionuclides were released outside the reactor building, the cooling of the reactor core was permanently ensured and it is a safe state. Operation of Penly-1 continues. ASN was informed on the leak and has classified the event as an "anomaly" on level 1 of the INES.
By Foro Nuclear, 9 April 2012

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