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Cause of Reactor Shutdown at Luzerne County Nuclear Plant Still Unknown

Nicholas_T / Flickr Creative Commons

The PPL Susquehanna plant is located east of Berwick in Luzerne County. One of its reactors unexpectedly shut down over the weekend.

The cause of an automatic shutdown at the PPL Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Berwick is still under investigation.

Just before 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning one of the plant’s two reactors shut down unexpectedly.

PPL says the reactor is safe, and the other one is functioning normally at full power. PPL co-owns the plant with Allegheny Electric Cooperative.

In a statement, PPL Susquehanna senior vice president and chief nuclear officer Timothy Rausch said the shutdown happened during routine testing of a control valve on the unit’s main turbine:

“We regularly test and evaluate the condition of plant systems and equipment. The Unit 2 reactor automatically shut down during one of these planned tests. Our operators followed established procedures to keep the unit in a safe and stable condition.”

Joe Scopelliti is a spokesman for the plant and says crews are going through a systematic check to find out exactly what happened.

“All the systems did what they were supposed to do. As soon as we isolate what the problem is we’ll repair or replace it.”

There are many reasons a reactor could automatically shut down, but Scopelliti expects the cause will be known fairly soon.

The Susquehanna PPL plant generates enough electricity to provide power to approximately two million homes. There are about 70,000 people who live within a 10 mile radius of the plant.

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