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Unit 1 at Limerick Nuclear Plant Shut Down for Refueling Outage

More than 2,000 supplemental workers are in town to help with Limerick’s 2012 refueling outage, Exelon stated today.

The Limerick nuclear generating station is partially shut down. 

"Unit 1 is shut down due to a scheduled refueling outage," said Exelon's Limerick Generating Station Communications Manager Dana Melia via email Monday afternoon.

Roughly two hours later, Exelon issued a news release that states 2,000 workers were bused in to work on Unit 1.

Employees and the part-time help will "perform over 13,000 outage-related activities, including state-of-the-art equipment upgrades, safety inspections and plant improvements," the release states.

The work will include "new adjustable speed drives on Unit 1’s" core circulating pumps, replacement of roughly one-third of the reactor’s fuel and cabling upgrades "to further protect the plant" in the event of an electrical disturbance.

"These activities cannot be performed while Unit 1 is online," the release states. "Limerick Unit 2 will continue to generate electricity during the Unit 1 outage." 

When asked why the massive upgrade wasn't announced prior to today's start of the work, Melia responded, "Our process is to announce refueling outages or any other planned shut downs the day they occur."

• In other Exelon news:

Arguments Over Nuke Plant License Renewal To Begin

An Atomic Safety and Licensing Board panel tomorrow will hear oral arguments on a request for a hearing on the Limerick nuclear power plant’s license renewal application.

The ASLB is the independent body within the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that presides over hearings in which the public can challenge NRC proposed licensing and enforcement actions.

A session will be held 9 a.m. Tuesday at the Montgomery County Courthouse, 2 East Airy Street in Norristown.

The session will be open for public observation, but participation will be limited to representatives of the parties taking part in the proceeding, including the National Resources Defense Council; Exelon Generation Co., LLC, which owns and operates the plant; and NRC staff.

Early arrival is suggested to allow for security screening for all members of the public interested in attending. NRC policy prohibits signs, banners, posters or displays in the hearing room.

Limerick, which is the site of two boiling-water reactors, is located in Limerick (Montgomery County), Pa. Exelon submitted an application on June 22, 2011, seeking 20-year license extensions for both units. The current operating licenses for Limerick Units 1 and 2 expire on Oct. 26, 2024, and June 22, 2029, respectively.

On Nov. 22, 2011, NRDC filed a request for a hearing on the application. The organization submitted four contentions related to the environmental report prepared by Exelon as part of its application, including the absence of a Severe Accident Mitigation Analysis. The ASLB judges will ask questions of the parties on Feb. 21 as they consider the admissibility of the contentions.

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