DTE reports oil leak at Fermi 2 nuclear plant

DTE Energy (NYSE:DTE) has notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the state of Michigan that the company has discovered a leaking underground fuel oil storage tank on the site of the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant.

“The underground fuel oil storage tank was unearthed while excavating for 120kv switchyard cable replacements,” according to a July 14 event notification report that the company filed with NRC.

“This is an underground fuel oil storage tank from the 1950s or earlier was not in service at the site, and it is unknown when the tank was last used,” according to the report filed with NRC.

“The size of the tank is estimated at 2,250 gallons,” according to the DTE report filed with NRC. “An unknown quantity of oil has leaked into the immediate surrounding ground and is currently contained in the soil. There is currently no indication of any of the leakage flowing beyond the site boundary or reaching any waterways.”

“Fermi 2 is conducting an investigation to determine the appropriate steps to address the storage tank and impacted soil,” the report to NRC goes on to say.

Fermi 2 is a roughly 1,100 MW boiling water reactor (BWR) that is located in Monroe County, Michigan. The nuclear facility, commissioned in the 1980s, is operated by DTE’s utility formerly known as Detroit Edison, now also known as DTE Electric.

There are also four gas turbines on the Fermi property that can run on fuel oil as a fuel source.

The company is currently seeking a 20-year license renewal for the Fermi 2 facility.

In the spring of 2015, DTE received an NRC license to build and operate a new reactor (Fermi 3) adjacent to the existing nuclear unit. Given current power market dynamics, the company doesn’t envision breaking ground anytime soon. DTE has said that it has no timetable for development of the Fermi 3 plan.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.