FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant experiences leak within facility
Staff at the FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County powered down the facility last weekend in response to an internal leak.
FitzPatrick spokesperson Tammy Holden says they recently discovered a defect in a few of the plant’s more than 30,000 fuel rods – long, thin metal tubes that contain uranium. They’re located within the reactor’s core and help produce power. The issue was higher than normal radioactive contamination in the water that the fuel rods heat to produce steam.
Neil Sheehan with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says it’s not a novel thing to happen at a nuclear power plant.
“There’s always a certain amount of radioactive contamination just by virtue of the fact that you have all of this nuclear fuel and water flowing through at high rates,” Sheehan said. “They don’t want to see excess radioactive contamination.”
But Sheehan says because that water is part of a closed loop that remains in the FitzPatrick plant, there shouldn’t be any danger to the surrounding community.