On Valentine's Day, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that Entergy Nuclear's Palisades atomic reactor in Covert, MI on the Lake Michigan shoreline (pictured, left) is one of the four worst-run atomic reactors in the U.S. This came after a problem-plagued 2011, including: an accident, designated a "yellow finding" by NRC ("of substantial significance to safety"), on Sept. 25th, involving the near-electrocution of an electrician, and loss of half the power to the control room, which stressed multiple age-degraded safety-critical systems (a steam generator, many years in need of replacement; the reactor pressure vessel, admitted by NRC to be the worst-embrittled in the U.S.) to the breaking point, risking multiple pathways to Loss of Coolant Accident (LOCA); and an August 9th service water pump coupling failure, due to inter-granular stress corrosion cracking, a repeat of an identical 2009 breakdown (to mention but two of five "un-planned shutdowns" in 2011!).
Last February, NRC announced that the downgrade of Palisades' safety status would result in a "supplemental inspection," at Entergy's convenience, which has finally been scheduled, seven months later. The NRC supplemental inspection will take place from September 17 to 28. The agency has requested numerous relevant documents in advance.
An NRC meeting on Entergy Palisades' lack of safety culture is scheduled for Sept. 12th in South Haven, MI, although those unable to attend in person can still call in. Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps will speak about "The Radioactive Catastrophe Waiting to Happen at Palisades, and What You Can Do To Prevent It" at the Peace House in Kalamazoo, MI on Sept. 13th. Learn more about these events here.