Braidwood back up after last week’s shutdowns

By Julie Wernau
Posted Aug. 23, 2010 at 11:17 a.m.

Braidwood Nuclear Power Plant is back online following dual reactor shutdowns that lasted nearly a week.

According to the plant’s owner, Exelon Generating Company, Unit 1 was placed back in service early Saturday, while Unit 2 returned to service Sunday evening. The company said an inspection into the causes of the two shutdowns found that Unit 1 shut down after water came in contact with an electrical bus and caused the system to de-energize. The company attributed the shutdown of Unit 2 to a main generator fault caused by an electrical ground in the unit’s electrical bus.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission sent a four-member special inspection team last week to review the circumstances that lead to the shutdowns at Braidwood, which is located in Braceville, 20 miles southwest of Joliet. The shutdowns caused a loud noise, and the plant emitted steam that contained low levels of tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen.

Braidwood’s two reactors produce enough electricity to power two million homes.

The NRC said an inspection report documenting the team’s findings will be available to the public within 45 days after the inspection is complete.

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