USA Nuclear Plants Shut Due To Flaws

It was announced recently that the troubled San Onofree nuclear plant in the US is to be shut permanently1. The plant has had a large number of problems and it has been reported that a leak at the plant was fixed using masking tapes and a broomsticks2.

However, this is only one of the major set backs for the pro-nuclear lobby in the USA.

Shearon Harris plant shut down when flaws where found and the owners Duke Energy have decided not to go ahead with two new reactors proposed at the site3. A 1/4″ crack was inside the Reactor Pressure Vessel Head. Similar faults have been found at PWRs in Belgium and yet the possibility of similar cracks at Sizewell B have not been investigated4

Crystal River has been shut down after the containment building was cracked during refurbishment work in 2009. Initially the outage was expected to be 3 months but then the reactor is not predicted to be back online until 2014 at the earliest. The owners have now decided to retire the plant.5

It has also been announced that the oldest nuclear plant in the US – Oyster Creek – will close in 20196.

Kewaunee shut due to economic reasons despite being licenced until 20337. Now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ordered 31 US nuclear plants to install new safety features. This is expected to cost the nuclear plant operators over $3.6 billion8. So we will have to wait and see how many more plants shut due to rising costs.

On top of this proposed new plants are seeing large cost overruns and delays as I pointed out in a previous post.


1 Edison will shut down the San Onofre nuclear plant for good, La Times, Friday 7th June (http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-edison-closing-san-onofre-nuclear-plant-20130607,0,7920425.story)

2 Nuclear power plant held together with masking tape, broomsticks, UPI, 2 May 2013 (http://www.upi.com/blog/2013/05/02/Nuclear-power-plant-held-together-with-masking-tape-broomsticks/7181367502559/#ixzz2UcuobfZb)

3 ‘Flaw’ forces shutdown of Harris nuclear plant, WNCT , 16 May 2013 (http://www.wnct.com/story/22271592/duke-energy-shuts-down-harris-plant-due-to-crack-in-reactor)

4 Letter to Dr. Mike Weightman, Director, Office for Nuclear Regulation,21st March,2013 (http://shutdown-sizewell.org.uk/dr-mike-weightman-director-office-for-nuclear-regulation21st-march2013/)

5 Crystal River Nuclear Plant to be retired; company evaluating sites for potential new gas-fueled generation, Duke Energy, August 2012 (http://www.duke-energy.com/news/releases/2013020501.asp)

6 What Happens When Our Nuclear-Power Fleet Is Older Than You Are?. Yahoo News, 7 June 2013 (http://news.yahoo.com/happens-nuclear-power-fleet-older-115845145.html)

7 Dominion shuts Kewaunee power reactor in Wisconsin, Reuters, 7 May 2013 (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/07/utilities-dominion-kewaunee-idUSL2N0DO1OT20130507)

8 US nuclear plant operators estimate $3.6 bil in post-Fukushima costs, Platts, 6 June 2013 (http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/ElectricPower/21124657)

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