SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — The Brunswick Nuclear Plant declared an “Unusual Event” early this morning as a result of a reactor coolant system leak, according to a Progress Energy spokesman. It happened around 3:01 a.m. The event ended around 8:15 a.m.
Plant spokesman Ryan Mosier says the problem was a coolant system leakage of greater than 10 gallons per minute on Unit 2.
Mosier says an “Unusual Event” is the lowest emergency classification used by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). Plant operators made the declaration as part of the plant’s conservative approach to maintaining plant safety.
Because the event had low safety significance, there were no threats to public health and safety and no protective actions were needed for the public.
According to Mosier, Unit 2 has been offline since Nov. 5 for scheduled maintenance, which was finished earlier this week. He says operators were beginning the process of re-starting the unit when the leakage was identified. Once the leakage was identified, the plant immediately began an investigation into the cause. Operators safely shut down the unit and placed it in a stable condition to determine the source and make the necessary repairs. The leak rate has been stabilized as a result of reduced pressure.
Mosier says the plant reported the incident to the NRC as an Unusual Event based on regulatory requirements within the mandated timeframe.
Reactor coolant is water used to remove heat from the reactor in order to create the steam that drives the turbines, which generate electricity.