Exelon works on nozzle at NJ Oyster Creek reactor before restart
* Reactor shut for refueling Oct. 22 * NRC says reactor safe, agency monitoring nozzle work * Exelon did not say when reactor would exit refuel Nov 27 (Reuters) - U.S. power company Exelon Corp is fixing a nozzle in the reactor at the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey before the unit can exit an ongoing refueling outage. The company did not say when the unit would likely exit the outage, which began on Oct. 22. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said the reactor was safe and noted it had a metallurgist at the site to make sure the agency was satisfied with the nozzle work. Exelon said it found an "indication" on a nozzle at the 615-megawatt (MW) reactor as part of a dye inspection of the reactor during the refueling outage. The NRC said the nozzle is used for the control rod drive mechanism. Control rods are made of materials that absorb neutrons and are used to control the power output or shut a reactor. Exelon said it found only one indication. To fix the indication, which the NRC said was not a crack but could grow into a crack if left unaddressed; Exelon was grinding down the metal around the indication. To keep the metal in the ground area within engineering standards for thickness, the company would weld an overlay on top of the site. All refueling outages are busy, but this one was especially active for Oyster Creek - the nation's oldest operating power reactor. The 43-year old reactor declared an alert on Oct. 29 as water rose in the plant's water intake structure due to the rising tide, and wind and storm surge from Hurricane Sandy. The NRC said there were no immediate safety concerns and the plant did not have to contend with a reactor shutdown as Sandy passed through the area because it was already shut for the refueling. The NRC however on Nov. 13 said it started a special inspection to gain a better understanding of how the intake water level information was monitored and communicated during the Sandy event. ---------------------------------------------------------- PLANT BACKGROUND/TIMELINE STATE: New Jersey COUNTY: Ocean TOWN: Forked River about 60 miles (96 km) east of Philadelphia OPERATOR: Exelon Nuclear OWNER(S): Exelon Nuclear CAPACITY: 615 MW UNIT(S): General Electric boiling water reactor FUEL: Nuclear DISPATCH: Baseload TIMELINE: 1965 - Construction started 1969 - Plant enters service, making it the oldest operating nuclear plant in the United States 1999 - GPU Inc agreed to sell reactor to AmerGen for $10 million 2003 - Exelon bought AmerGen in 2003 2005 - Exelon applied with the NRC to extend the operating license before the license was to expire in 2009 2009 - NRC renewed the reactor's original 40-year operating license for another 20 years 2010 - Exelon agreed with New Jersey to shut reactor in 2019 to avoid building cooling towers 2019 - Oyster Creek reactor to shut 2029 - Operating license expires
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