In the news: March 1996
Ukraine Reactor Shutdown
(March 26, 1996) – Ukraine’s energy supply took another hit when a hydrogen leak forced the shut-down of a reactor at the Pivdenny (Southern) nuclear power station at the weekend, the state nuclear power authority said on Monday.
“We can’t say how much hydrogen leaked out, but it wasn’t much. With this type of reactor the hydrogen is not radioactive,” Spokesman Mykola Oberkovych said. “The risk would have been a fire but they managed to avoid that.” The event measured zero on a scale of seven in terms of severity and the reactor should be back in service by Wednesday, March 28.
Ukraine’s five nuclear power stations, including the stricken Chernobyl plant, have been going at full power and producing 50 percent of the country’s electricity. An unusually severe winter and a two week long coal strike has made nuclear generated electricity even more important than usual
Maine Yankee Reracking
(March 17, 1996) – With a federal repository for high-level radioactive waste not due to open until 2010, engineers have begun a program to rerack the spent fuel stored at the Maine Yankee nuclear power plant. The plant has been operating since 1972. Reracking the plant’s spent-fuel pool will give Maine Yankee enough space to store spent fuel until 2008.
About six years ago, Maine Yankee realized the “seriousness of the delay” and decided to rerack its pool. Reracking will be done on an “accelerated schedule,” 10 hours a day, six days a week, beginning this spring.
Possible Partial Shutdown
(March 17, 1996) – Wisconsin Electric Power Co.’s Point Beach nuclear power plant may be forced into a partial shutdown this fall because of concerns over on- site storage of radioactive waste and the condition of the plant’s steam generators.
Cracks and other steam generator deterioration forced WEPCO to obtain a special license amendment this year to continue operating one of its steam generators. And regulators who last March gave WEPCO permission to store radioactive waste at Point Beach have been required by a federal judge to reconsider. Environmentalists had appealed the approval of on-site storage.