Two nuclear plants clean up fluid spills

Two nuclear power plants in different parts of the country are cleaning up spills on their property, according to reports filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

The Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Wolf Creek plant in Kansas experienced a 150-gallon oil spill in the switchyard. Meanwhile, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Watts Bar 2 nuclear facility in Tennessee reported a 525-gallon chemical spill.

During the morning of Nov. 29 at Watts Bar 2, “a chemical spill of approximately 525 gallons of Flo-guard was reported to the main control room from the raw water system chemical treatment control building (near the intake pumping station),” according to the NRC report.

“No personnel injuries have resulted from this spill,” at Watts Bar 2. “The spill has stopped and is contained to the immediate area of the building. The spill has not reached the waters of the United States. The hazardous constituent of Flo-guard is Zinc Chloride,” according to the NRC report.

“Source of spill was a piping failure that allowed the contents of a storage tank to drain onto the ground in the immediate vicinity overnight. The area has been contained and does not impact any plant operations,” according to the NRC report on the Watts Bar 2 spill.

As for the Nov. 29 Wolf Creek incident: “While operating in mode 1 at 100% rated thermal power an approximately 150 gallon oil spill occurred in the switchyard,” NRC reported

“Westar Energy personnel were performing corrective maintenance on the station’s #6 transformer that required cleaning the oil. The #6 transformer was out of service at the time. The oil was being transferred to a group of hold up tanks. One of the tanks overflowed before the next tank could be placed in service. This resulted in the spill of approximately 150 gallons of UNIVOLT N 61 B, electrical insulating oil onto gravel and soil.

The Wolf Creek spill has been stopped. The oil had recently been sampled and there were no detectable polychlorinated biphenyls, PCBs. A cleanup plan is being developed, according to the report on Wolf Creek.

NRC and other government authorities were notified of the incidents at Wolf Creek and Watts Bar 2.

The roughly 1,150-MW Wolf Creek plant is located in Coffey County, Texas. The second 1,150-MW pressurized water reactor (PWR) at the Watts Bar station in Rhea County, Tennessee went commercial on Oct. 24.

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