Jan 30, 2003
PPL's Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County near Berwick, Pa., officially declared the end of an "unusual event" at 1:25 a.m. EST.
"The safety of our employees and our neighbors is our primary concern," said Herbert D. Woodeshick, special assistant to the president for PPL Susquehanna. "We did not downgrade the event until we were sure we understood why this happened and we were confident that we had taken action to prevent recurrence."
At 8:32 p.m yesterday (1/29), the two-unit plant entered the lowest of the four emergency classifications for nuclear power plants after monitors briefly indicated a higher-than-normal radioactive gas release from the Unit 1 turbine building vent. In less than an hour, monitor readings returned to normal and have remained there, according to Woodeshick.
"The safety of the general public was not threatened and no action by the general public was required," he said.
Plant personnel investigating the situation determined that drain valves malfunctioned, allowing a small amount of radioactive gases to bypass the plant's off-gas system. That system is used to separate any gases from steam that has passed through the plant's turbine and treat those gases before they are released into the atmosphere. Plant management has put operating procedures in place until permanent repairs can be made, Woodeshick said.
Both units continue to run at full power.
PPL notified Luzerne and Columbia county emergency management agencies, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
The Susquehanna plant, located about seven miles north of Berwick, is owned jointly by PPL Susquehanna LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. and is operated by PPL Susquehanna.
PPL Susquehanna LLC is a member of the PPL Corporation family of companies. Headquartered in Allentown, Pa., PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) controls about 11,500 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets and delivers electricity to customers in Pennsylvania, the United Kingdom and Latin America.
SOURCE: PPL Corporation
CONTACT: Media Operations Center, 570-759-2285
Web site: http://www.pplweb.com/