Palisades Nuclear Plant restarted; water pump valve malfunction blamed for shutdown

Dec 16, 2011

The Palisades nuclear power plant in Van Buren County is operating again after a problem with its water pumps prompted a shutdown this week. It’s the fifth time the plant has shut down in the past year.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says a valve on the Palisades’ main feed water system opened unexpectedly on Wednesday. Operators had to take the reactor off line.

NRC spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng says the Palisades plant is under investigation for three serious safety violations this year.

But Mitlyng says the latest incident happened on the production side of the plant, not on the nuclear side, so there was likely no danger.

"This does not appear to be the case here, but until we have a full review of what happened, we don't make any conclusions," she says

Mitlyng says a resident NRC  inspector was in the control room with plant operators during the latest incident.

"Our resident inspectors and inspectors in the region are monitoring plant conditions and actions and safety equipment very closely and kihnd of looking at everything in the plant through a magnifying glass," Mitlyng says.

The Palisades plant was shut down in January, August and twice in September.