Palisades maintenance outage underway

The Palisades Power Plant in Covert Township. The reactor is in a maintenance outage and faces a fall refueling outage.

COVERT — The Palisades nuclear power plant is starting its second week of a repair outage, which comes in advance of a planned refueling outage, the plant and federal regulators reported.

Plant spokesman Nick Culp said Friday that operators shut down the reactor Oct. 13 for planned work on a degrading control rod drive seal.

However, “during the scheduled maintenance, an internal transformer fault occurred, resulting in the loss of power supply to several components,” Culp said. “At all times, the plant remained in a safe and stable condition. Palisades employees are working to replace the transformer. (Nuclear Regulatory Commission) inspectors were made aware of the planned shutdown and have been kept informed throughout.”

The NRC on Friday reported that the step-down transformer failed as crews tried to restart the reactor after the drive seal repair.

For proprietary reasons, Culp said, plant owner Entergy does not divulge when the plant will restart or if managers will roll the current outage into the refuelling outage. It will not say when the refuelling outage was to start.

“This maintenance project comes after 198 days of continuous safe operation and is reflective of our ongoing commitment to running the plant well,” Culp said in a statement. “... During the coming outage, Entergy will invest tens of millions of dollars in the plant’s safe and reliable operations.”

The fall refueling outage will be one of the last two before the plant shuts down in 2022, Culp said.

Contact: jdalgleish@TheHP.com, 932-0356.