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September 22, 2018

Pump Problem Starts Shutdown at Nine Mile One, but Repairs Bring Reactor Back


The Nine Mile Point nuclear station, with Nine Mile 1 on the left and Nine Mile 2 and its signature cooling tower on the right. Photo © Constellation Energy Group, Inc. 2008

The Nine Mile Point nuclear station, with Nine Mile 1 on the left and Nine Mile 2 and its signature cooling tower on the right. Photo © Constellation Energy Group, Inc. 2008

The Nine Mile One nuclear power plant reactor began to be shut down Tuesday after workers discovered a problem with one of its backup power generators, according to the plant’s owner, Constellation Nuclear.

Spokesperson Jill Lyon says the shutdown was stopped and the plant was brought back to full power by midnight after the generator was fixed.

Lyon said the problem was discovered early in the afternoon in one of the several backup diesel-powered generators that would be used to supply power to the nuclear plant in case of a power outage.

An oil pump on the generator was not working properly.

Because one of the other backup generators was down for repairs as well, officials made the decision to take the nuclear reactor off line.

The shutdown began at about 3:51 p.m., Lyon said,  She called it “a conservative action”.

But a couple of hours later, with the shutdown underway and the reactor down to about 92% of its power, workers fixed the backup generator.  Lyon said officials gave the order to stop the shutdown and return to normal operation.

“We turned and went back and we were at 100 percent power before midnight,” she said.

There were no problems with either the shutdown or the return to power, Lyon said.

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