Repairs to Harris Plant complete, operations expected to restart - WNCN: News, Weather

Repairs to Harris Plant complete, operations expected to restart 'soon'

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Harris Nuclear Plant was shut down after operators reviewing tests from last year rechecked the data and found tiny marks of corrosion and cracking that need repair. Harris Nuclear Plant was shut down after operators reviewing tests from last year rechecked the data and found tiny marks of corrosion and cracking that need repair.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

Harris Nuclear Plant will be up and operating "soon," the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Tuesday.

The NRC gave the all clear for regular operations of Harris Nuclear Plant to resume after repairs were made a reactor vessel head.

"We have verified that the condition has been corrected and the plant can be operated safely," said Victor McCree, NRC Region II administrator. "Although there was no threat to people living near the plant, we felt it was important to conduct a follow-up meeting to answer questions residents might have."

A Duke Energy spokeswoman says a restart date is being withheld for competitive reasons. The plant is operated by its Duke Energy Progress subsidiary.

Harris Nuclear Plant was shut down May 15 after operators reviewing tests from last year rechecked the data and found tiny marks of corrosion and cracking that need repair.

Duke Energy said it found a quarter-inch mark of corrosion and cracking in the covering of the reactor vessel, which contains heat produced by the nuclear core's energy. The crack did not penetrate the vessel head and there was no evidence of radiation leakage, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Duke Energy said.

Two Nuclear Regulatory Commission specialist inspectors joined the on-site NRC inspectors "to assess the circumstances surrounding the discovery." The team also examined previous ultrasonic test records for the vessel head and evaluated the company's repair of the problem.

The NRC says preliminary findings of the inspection team will be discussed at a public meeting on June 13. The final inspection report is expected to be released by mid-July.

The public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Holly Springs Cultural Center.

The Nuclear Energy Institute estimated the shutdown cost Duke Energy as much as $1.5 million per day to replace power generated by the plant.

David Bradish, NEI's manager of energy and economic analysis, says when a nuclear plant shuts down, it usually costs between $1 million and $1.5 million per day to replace power generated by the plant.

Bradish added that the cost estimate is based on the spot price of electricity in the area where the plant is shut down.

He says the cost to the power company increases depending on the time of the year as well. Most outages occur during the spring and fall seasons, but an unplanned outage during the summer will cost the company more.

Duke has not said how much the shutdown cost the company.

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