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Unit 1 shut down; should be back online Wednesday

By Eric Fleischauer 340-2435

A non-radioactive leak forced TVA to shut down Browns Ferry Unit 1 on Monday morning, but TVA was gradually returning the plant to full power Tuesday afternoon.

Browns Ferry spokesman Jason Huffine said he expected the plant to reach 100 percent power Wednesday.

The manual shutdown came after a leak in an electro-hydraulic control system. The system helps maintain the valve that controls the amount of steam going to the turbines, Huffine said. The turbines generate power.

On May 24, Tennessee Valley Authority shut down Unit 1 for another electro-hydraulic leak. According to reports it filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission at the time, the leak was about 60 drops per minute, but — in the course of repairs — more than 600 gallons of the fluid escaped.

"The leak was minimal and contained within the system," Huffine said of Monday's incident. "There was no danger to the public or the environment."

TVA shut the plant down at 2:14 a.m. Monday, according to a report it filed with the NRC.

All three units were operating at full power before the leak. Units 2 and 3 remained at full power during the Unit 1 shutdown.

Monday's shutdown was the fourth since the May 22 restart of Unit 1, which cost TVA $1.8 billion. TVA workers also had to reduce the power of all three plants for several days in mid-August because the intake water from the river, heated during the summer's heat wave, prevented them from operating within environmental regulations.

TVA last month announced it would temporarily increase rates beginning Oct. 1.

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