U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Tritium release at Byron Generating Station not enough to harm public
Online Staff Report
According to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the amount of radioactive tritium released in steam to cool a reactor at the Byron nuclear plant during a Jan. 30 shutdown is not enough to harm the public.
The NRC announced Jan. 31 it would begin a special inspection at the plant after a loss of offsite power led to a Unit 2 reactor shutdown Jan. 30.
The NRC said preliminary reports show the radiation released by the station was less than 0.001 percent of the NRC’s annual limit. However, final data will be released following the conclusion of the special investigation.
The two-unit Byron nuclear power plant is operated by Exelon Generation Co. and is in Byron, Ill., about 17 miles southwest of Rockford.
According to a Jan. 31 NRC press release, the special investigation team “will look into how plant equipment responded to the loss of offsite power. They will review the sequence of events, evaluate the facts and circumstances, and review the plant’s actions surrounding the incident. The team will also review the plant’s evaluation of what happened, their plan for addressing the cause of the event, and the implementation of their corrective actions.
“Unit 2 remains in a safe and stable shutdown condition and the diesel generators continue to supply power to the plant as planned for this type of incident,” the Jan. 31 press release continued. “There was a steam release from the non-nuclear side of the plant with trace amounts of tritium. This type of steam release is used by nuclear power plants to release pressure to maintain the plant in a stable condition. Doses to the public from this type of release are significantly below even the most stringent Federal protective limits and, therefore, do not pose a risk to public health and safety.”
The NRC’s special inspection report will be available within 45 days of the inspection’s completion.
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