The formal “alert’’ status at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey Township, NJ was terminated at 3:52 a.m. today after the water levels at the plant’s intake system decreased to normal levels, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has confirmed this morning.
Offsite power also has been restored to the nuclear power facility, which had lost electrical service due to Hurricane Sandy and was using backup generators to power water pumps that cool the fuel stored in the nuclear reactor.
Water levels at the plant’s intake system are now at about 3 feet and declining, below the six-foot level that triggers a formal alert notification. The rising levels were the result of high tides, wind direction and storm surge that were caused by the storm. The notification of an “alert’’ is the second lowest NRC action level.
The NRC in a statement noted that Oyster Creek was in “safe condition,’’ with agency inspectors on site.
Formal notifications of the alert were properly made, as required by the Exelon Corp, owners of the plant, to the NRC, state Department of Environmental Protection and state Office of Emergency Management.
The Oyster Creek reactor had been off-line prior to Sandy for previously scheduled refueling and maintenance operations. The DEP and NRC continue to observe operations at Oyster Creek and the state’s other nuclear facilities.
DEP nuclear engineers monitor daily operations at the state’s power plants on a regular basis and will continue to monitor their status throughout the aftermath of the storm. Under the New Jersey Radiation Accident Response Act, the DEP and State Police coordinate and implement comprehensive state, county, and municipal response to nuclear emergencies and establish requirements for protecting the public in the event of nuclear emergencies.
The state has highly trained staff ready to initiate, at a moment's notice, an effective response to any nuclear power plant issue.
For NRC news releases on monitoring of nuclear power plants during the storm, visit: http://www.nrc.gov/