Susquehanna nuclear plant ends alert; Freon leak successfully stopped in reactor building

Source: PPL Susquehanna

Workers successfully stopped a leak of Freon vapor in the Unit 1 reactor building at PPL's (NYSE:PPL) Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County, Pa., ending the alert that had been in effect since Tuesday (8/10) morning. 

The Freon was safely removed from a chiller in the Unit 1 reactor building and placed in storage tanks on site. Freon is used as a refrigerant in the air-conditioning system for the reactor building and provides cooling for plant equipment in the reactor building. 

"While public safety was not at risk during this situation, entering the emergency management plan -- which involves cooperation from many municipal, county and state agencies -- ensured we had the resources available if needed to help protect employees and support the safe operation of the plant," said Miriam Mylin, spokeswoman for the Susquehanna plant. "We appreciate the support of those agencies."
Public safety was never at risk during the incident, plant employees remained safe and no injuries were reported. 

The plant declared an alert Tuesday morning when employees detected Freon leaking in an area that contains plant safety systems. An alert is the second lowest of the four emergency classifications established by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for nuclear power plants. Both generating units at the plant are operating at full power.

The Susquehanna nuclear plant, located about seven miles north of Berwick, is owned jointly by PPL Susquehanna LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. Operated by PPL Susquehanna, the plant boasts a generating capacity of 2,145 MW and employs over 1,130 full-time on site employees. 

Operations for Unit 1 began in 1983 followed by Unit 2 in 1985 under 40-year operating licenses from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In November 2009, the NRC granted a 20-year extension of the original licenses, allowing the units to operate until 2042 and 2044 respectively. 

Unit 1 at the Susquehanna plant was safely shut down March 2, 2010 for a planned refueling and maintenance outage, but was again out of commission between July 16th and August 4th due to a leak of river water into the turbine building basement from a hatch that provides access to part of the unit's condenser.

PPL Susquehanna is one of PPL Corporation's generating facilities. Headquartered in Allentown, Pa., PPL Corporation controls or owns nearly 12,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets and delivers electricity to about 4 million customers in Pennsylvania and the United Kingdom.



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