United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Millstone 1 Owner to Update NRC on Search for Missing Spent Fuel Rods

NRC Seal

Office of Public Affairs, Region I
475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, Pa. 19406

No. I-01-019   April 16, 2001
CONTACT: Diane Screnci (610) 337-5330
Neil A. Sheehan (610) 337-5331
E-mail: OPA1.Resource@nrc.gov


Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff will meet with Dominion Nuclear Connecticut representatives on Monday, April 23, to discuss the status of an investigation into, and search for, two spent nuclear fuel rods apparently missing from the spent fuel pool at the Millstone 1 nuclear power plant in Waterford, Conn.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. in the Public Meeting Room at the NRC Region I office, 475 Allendale Road, King of Prussia, Pa. It will be open to the public.

Dominion recently took over ownership of the Millstone facility from Northeast Utilities. Late last year, Northeast Utilities reported that a review of records revealed two spent fuel rods previously believed to have been stored in the spent fuel pool at the permanently shutdown Millstone 1 plant could not be located. In response, Northeast Utilities launched a search for the fuel rods, including visual inspections of storage racks in the circulating-water spent fuel pool using remote-controlled cameras, personnel interviews and a further review of records. The company also formed an Independent Review Team to augment its investigation.

The various efforts are ongoing but so far have not been able to determine the whereabouts of the rods.

Nuclear power plants use slender metal rods filled with enriched uranium pellets in the reactor to generate heat, which creates steam used to produce power. There are thousands of these rods in use in the reactor when it is in operation. Upon its use in the reactor, the fuel is considered highly radioactive. Once removed from the reactor, it is placed in the spent fuel pool for storage. In the case of Millstone 1, the apparently missing rods are about a half-inch in diameter and 158 inches long.

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