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Monday, August 27, 2012

Millstone reactor powers up again

Sea water temperature drops enough to allow reactor re-start
By Will Collette

The Associated Press reports today that the Millstone nuclear power plant, just 20 miles due west of Charlestown, has re-started its Unit #2 reactor, which has been shut down since August 12.

The re-start took place on Saturday, according to a spokesperson for Millstone’s operator, Virginia-based Dominion Power.

Water temperature in Long Island Sound has dropped to 72 degrees. The power plant had been shut-down when average temperatures exceeded the 75 degree maximum allowed under Millstone’s license by 1.7 degrees.

Millstone draws ocean water directly from the sound to cool its reactors and then discharges the hot water back into the Sound.

According to the AP report, Dominion Power believes the problem of warmer waters is going to be the new normal due to climate change. Dominion plans to conduct an engineering study in the hopes of convincing the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to allow them to operate using much warmer sea water to cool its reactors.

Click here for my earlier story on Millstone’s shut-down. Click here for my earlier story on Millstone’s plan to dramatically increase the amount of high-level radioactive waste held in permanent storage on site. Click here for my earlier article on safety violations at Millstone.