A high torus water lever make containment less effective. Bottom line, it is a short term event.
It is not even close to a guild. It's a rather simple procedure. Mostly flipping switches in the control room. Following a procedure exactly is mandatory for both the NRC and management. The public affairs officer is really working for the licensee. They sugar coat this events. Turning this into more or less a voluntary guild than following the procedure to the letter of the law is a example to that.
Water floods from storage tank into base of Pilgrim reactor
Monday Posted Apr 3, 2017 at 6:07 PM Updated at 7:37 AM
By Christine Legere
PLYMOUTH — Operators at Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station failed to follow standard procedure last week and incorrectly re-aligned some valves, causing water to flood from a massive storage tank into the reservoir at the base of the reactor known as the torus.
The torus plays a role in depressurizing and cooling down the reactor in a severe accident.
At noon on Friday, Pilgrim operators were flushing out some piping in the reactor’s cooling system in preparation for the upcoming refueling. Workers opened a valve on the torus out of sequence, without first closing the valve on the water storage tank. This resulted in water being drained into the torus from the storage tank, setting off an alarm in the control room.
“This volume of water placed the torus level above the administrative limit for readiness should an unplanned event occur,” Patrick O’Brien, spokesman for Pilgrim’s owner-operator Entergy Corp. wrote in an email. “Station personnel appropriately responded to close the valves and processed and filtered the water from the torus back to the condensate storage tanks.”
The procedure took about four hours.
David Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said such mistakes don’t built public confidence. “When control room operators err during low stress, fairly common activities, one has to wonder how they will perform in the highly stressful conditions during an infrequent accident,” Lochbaum wrote in an email. “Their proper responses can turn an accident into an incident. Their improper responses can turn an accident into a disaster.”
It sounds to me the torus was sitting at the upper limits of the normal operating band. Why was it there. One wonders if they got something leaking into the torus. Operating HPIC or RCIC raises water. Were they just too lazy to return the torus level to mid level of the operating range?
Neil Sheehan, spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said there are standard guides for operating the valve systems. “This was a breakdown in the process that shows lack of adherence to procedure,” he said.
The resident inspector from the NRC went to the control room immediately after notification of the event “and remained on hand to verify that the water flow to the torus had been halted and that the situation had stabilized,” Sheehan said There were no immediate safety concerns. “Nevertheless, the NRC staff is continuing to assess the event, including its risk significance,” Sheehan added.
The incident was the second involving operator error that occurred last week. On March 27, technicians doing heat testing on another reactor system triggered the wrong switch, which caused the temporary shutdown of the High Pressure Coolant Injection System — another of the systems needed to cool the reactor in an emergency.
Junk Plant Pilgrim: Unprofessionalism Abounds
Power Reactor Event Number: 52655Facility: PILGRIMRegion: 1 State: MAUnit:  [ ] [ ]RX Type:  GE-3NRC Notified By: KENNETH GRACIAHQ OPS Officer: VINCE KLCO Notification Date: 03/31/2017Notification Time: 19:14 [ET]Event Date: 03/31/2017Event Time: 11:55 [EDT]Last Update Date: 03/31/2017Emergency Class: NON EMERGENCY10 CFR Section:50.72(b)(3)(v)(D) - ACCIDENT MITIGATIONPerson (Organization):BILL COOK (R1DO)Unit SCRAM Code RX CRIT Initial PWR Initial RX Mode Current PWR Current RX Mode1 N Y 97 Power Operation 97 Power OperationEvent TextPRESSURE SUPPRESSION POOL DECLARED INOPERABLE DUE TO TORUS HIGH WATER LEVEL"On March 31, 2017 at 1155 hours [EDT], with the reactor at 97% core thermal power and steady state conditions, operators inadvertently caused water level to rise in the Pressure Suppression Pool (TORUS). Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station (PNPS) was restoring normal system valve line-ups after performing flushing of the suction piping of the Core Spray system in accordance with station procedures. During the process of restoring the appropriate valve line-ups, water was inadvertently transferred to the TORUS from the Condensate Storage Tank. The cause of the event is understood."The Technical Specification (TS) Limiting Condition for Operation (LCO) Action Statement (AS) 3.7.A.5 was entered. The LCO AS was exited at 1540 when TORUS water level was restored to the limits specified in LCO's 3.7.A.1.b and 3.7.A.1.m. Because the TORUS was declared inoperable, PNPS is providing an 8-hour non-emergency notification in accordance with 10 CFR 50.72(b)(3)(v)(D), an event or condition that could have prevented fulfillment of a safety function needed to mitigate the consequences of an accident."This was a case of the water level in the TORUS being above the TS limit. The TORUS was potentially available to provide cooling to the reactor if required."The NRC Resident Inspector has been notified."The licensee notified the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Plymouth County.