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Unresolved issues remain but “no significant findings” in August leak at Palisades plant

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Operators of the Palisades nuclear power plant did not do anything wrong during a water leak that shut the plant down in August. At least nothing that resulted in any “significant findings” according to a report recently releasedby the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

There have been a few water leaks at Palisades this year. This was arguably the most significantbecause the leak was from the pressurized vessel that holds the nuclear reactor. Up to 10,000 gallons of radioactive water leaked before the leak was repaired.

There was no threat to public safety because the radioactive water was captured.

NRC spokeswoman Prema Chandrathil says there’s still three unresolved issues; what actually failed, how fast the leak formed, and if it’s the same kind of leak Palisades had in 2001.

“Once we take a look at that root cause report we’ll be able to go ahead and address these unresolved items and they may or may not have findings associated with them,” Chandrathil said. The root cause report will take another three months to complete.

“Findings” can range from “very low” to “high” significance. Higher findings can result in higher oversight and other regulatory actions. Palisades had a number of findings last yearthat resulted in it earning one of the worst safety ratings of nuclear plants in the United States.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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