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Faulty valve to shut down nuclear plant

The problem has limited the amount of water that can be made into steam, preventing full output.

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 18, 2001

CRYSTAL RIVER -- Florida Power Corp. will shut down its nuclear plant this morning to replace a faulty valve that restricted water flow to a steam generator.

The facility will remain off-line through early next week, spokesman Mac Harris said.

The problem was discovered after a fire control system for the output transformers malfunctioned last weekend.

There was no fire, Harris said, but fans that cool the transformers were automatically turned off. To avoid overheating, the plant was reduced to 65 percent of normal output.

The fire control problem was fixed and as the output was increased, technicians noticed the feed water system was not working correctly, Harris said.

"It was getting water to the steam generators, but they noticed a difference in the output pressure of the two pumps, and that indicated something was restricting part of the system," Harris said.

Since then, the plant has been operating at 85 percent because of the lack of water that can be made into steam. The steam spins the turbine that drives the generator, which produces electricity.

Harris said the nuclear facility is occasionally shut down for maintenance and despite the production loss, consumers will not notice the difference. "From a power supply standpoint, it's a nonevent," he said.

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