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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Entergy calls Palisades tank replacement permanent solution to leaks

Caroline MacGregor
May 21, 2013 | WGVU   Following multiple inspections, a small crack along a nozzle weld was identified at the bottom of the tank. The crack is believed to be the cause of a leak that led to the plant’s shut down on May 5th.

Terry Young, Vice President of Communications for Entergy Corporation which owns Palisades, says they’ve made a decision to completely replace the tank bottom and reconstruct the subfloor: the 300,000 gallon aluminum tank lies on a bed of sand.

“Over time, as water leaked through the bottom of that tank, some sand had erroded over time so it allowed the bottom of the tank to flex more than designed.”

By replacing the entire floor of the tank, operators can access and replace the subfloor - critical to the stability of the tank itself. The extensive replacement effort should take a few weeks. Cost estimates for replacement of the tank, which sits above the control room, have not yet been identified.

“We don't really have a cost estimate but ultimately it's not really about cost in this scenario, it's about identifying a solution for this problem once and for all; that for us is the most important issue.”

I asked Young if Palisades would have considered replacing the tank without recent pressure from St.Joseph Congressman Fred Upton and others to find a permanent resolution to a problem than has plagued the aging nuclear plant.

“We were seeking a permanent solution because obviously when we are generating electricity to make money in a safe manner and when we're not operating that's not good for  revenue.”

Young calls it a once and for solution to the tank’s leaks which have led to multiple plant shutdowns. While Young says Palisades will not be fined by the NRC for this leak, that point remains unclear.

“Once our review is complete we will determine what enforcement action would be adequate for what occurred.”

NRC spokeswoman Victoria Mitlyng who says the amount of radiation that escaped during the leak of 79 gallons of diluted radioactive water into Lake MI was well below NRC regulatory limits.

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  July 21, 2014  |  WGVU  Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, has announced a new relief program for Michigan fruit growers whose farms were devastated by extreme weather conditions in 2012.   
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