Metro

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station shuts down due to nor’easter

 The Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth.

KEITH BEDFORD/GLOBE STAFF

The Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth.

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station shut down Thursday morning because of the storm, plant officials said.

The Plymouth plant has been operating at only 30 percent of capacity since Monday, after officials found seawater leaking into one of the plant’s condenser tubes.

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The plant stopped producing power “preemptively” at 8 a.m. Thursday in advance of the storm, “based on updated National Weather Service forecast data and in accordance with station operating procedure,” spokesman Patrick O’Brien said in a statement.

O’Brien said the plant will use the down time to plug some of the 35,000 additional condenser tubes “to prevent this type of issue in the future.”

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He added, “A date and time of when Pilgrim will return to 100 percent power is considered business sensitive, and we do not disclose that information.”

Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials said their resident inspectors at Pilgrim were monitoring the shutdown and repair work.

NRC spokesman Neil Sheehan wrote in an e-mail that individual plant operators set their own rules for when they shut down because of bad weather. Entergy, which owns Pilgrim, “has more conservatively set criteria and errs on the side of caution.’’

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Sheehan added that Thursday’s shutdown was “only the second preemptive winter storm shutdown at Pilgrim since this new guidance was put in place.’’ Previous preemptive shutdowns occurred in February 2015 and February 2016.

David Abel can be reached at dabel@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @davabel.
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