Update: Unit 1 Out Of Service

Additionally, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Wednesday addressed safety concerns from local residents.


Update: 12 p.m. 4/19/12 - Operators at Limerick Generating Station removed Unit 1 from service at approximately 8 a.m. this morning following an electrical malfunction on the non-nuclear side of the plant, said Dana Melia, communications manager for Exelon's Limerick Generating Station. 

"There was no risk to the public or injuries associated with the shutdown," Melia said. "Limerick Unit 2 continues to operate at full power."

Limerick Generating Station is 21 miles northwest of Philadelphia. With both units at full power, the site can produce enough carbon-free electricity for approximately 2 million homes.

• Wednesday's meeting coverage: 

A 1974 geologic report was the subject of much discussion during a meeting in Limerick Township on Wednesday. 

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission hosted the meeting to discuss with the public an annual safety performance assessment of Exelon's Limerick nuclear power plant.

There was no agenda for the event, which included workers from the NRC and Exelon.

Members of The Alliance For A Clean Environment brought copies of the nearly 40-year-old report, produced by Dames and Moore for the Philadelphia Electric Company, and a geologic map that shows several faults near the Limerick plant. 

ACE -- a non-profit founded in the late 1980's that disbanded, rejuvenated in 1995 and has roughly 1,000 members -- works to protect the environment and address public health issues in Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties.

"There are some faults that are in the vicinity of the plant," said Andrew Rosebrook, NRC senior project engineer. The Ramapo Fault is about 17 miles from Limerick and the Chalfont Fault is nearly nine miles from the nuclear plant, he said adding that a fault is basically a weak spot in the ground.

"These faults are extremely old," Rosebrook said and added it's "pretty unlikely" the faults would become active. 

The plant was designed with layers of safety features to withstand an earthquake measuring about six on the Richter scale, he said. 

However, plant safetly operations don't always work as planned, which was the case during a recent .

"You can't make everything totally fail proof," he said.

Rosebrook said he and his family live about five miles from the Limerick plant.

"I feel nuclear power is a very safe industry especially compared to other methods," he said. Plant operators, local fire and police departments practice to handle emergencies at the plant, he said.

"We force them to practice safety," he said.

The nuclear power industry learned a lot from disasters at plants in Chernobyl and Fukushima, Rosebrook said.

"It is our job to make sure they are operating the plant safely," he said.

Dana Melia, communications manager for Exelon's Limerick Generating Station, said roughly 860 employees are on site at the Limerick plant at any given time.

"Every task that we do is focused around safe operations of that system," she said.

Steve Aaron, a member of the PA Energy Alliance, funded by Exelon, was at the event to promote nuclear energy. 

Aaron worked as communications director under Tom Ridge, governor of Pennsylvania from 1995–2001, and Mark Schweiker when Ridge resigned to become Homeland Security advisor under President George W. Bush.

"I got to witness sort of firsthand the professionalism of the industry," Aaron said of the nuclear power field's response to security threats during the events of Sept. 11, 2001. "I was very impressed."

Aaron said roughly 80 percent of 800 residents polled across the state in June, 2012 support nuclear energy. 

"The numbers remain very strong," he said. 

Nuclear power plants also create blue and white collar jobs, he said.

Betty Shank of Lower Pottsgrove Township said she'd rather see Exelon put their employees to work for other energy sources.

Shank and her husband Charlie lived near the Limerick site before the nuclear power plant was built roughly 30 years ago. At that time, she borrowed books -- from a book mobile that stopped at the Limerick Diner -- to learn more about the production of nuclear energy.

"Nothing that I read comforted me," she said. "I didn't want it here."

And the more she learned over the years, the more concerned she became.

The plumes that spew from the plant towers are toxic, she said.

"It's not just steam," she said. "It's loads of chemicals."

Shank hopes Exelon's license will not be renewed. Nuclear energy plants in the U.S. are licensed to operate for 40 years. Limerick Unit 1’s original license continues through Oct. 26, 2024 and Unit 2’s license continues through June 22, 2029. With license renewal, Unit 1 and Unit 2 would be permitted to operate until 2044 and 2049.

Shank said she'd prefer the company find a different way to produce energy.

"They could build ... maybe a solar park, keep people working and make it safer," she said. "The nuclear waste dump would stop growing ... The NRC and Exelon could still be heroes." 




Tom Bartman April 22, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Ok, I'll play the activist game for a minute.... Whistle blow! Hey, that plant is "toxic"! Let's disassemble the plant, replace it with solar panels, wind mills and tract housing because I know more than the NRC and smarter than you because I read a piece in the New York Academy of Science. Oh, and because the million "potential" Fukushima cancers are "estimated" sounds scary. I asked three times now, what chemicals are being put in the towers and nobody has anything to say. Back up what you say. Name a chemical. One. Name one. I do agree with you though on one thing. I will agree with you on the Schuylkill River being highly polluted. I would not touch that water. But the steam from the plant is an isolated loop. Saying the plant puts pollution in the air is barking up the wrong tree. Focus on cleaning up the Schuylkill and you have something serious. We all want that.
Lorraine Ruppe April 23, 2012 at 05:27 PM
Harry and Tom Blair, all spin and no facts. It's really getting old... Tom B- If you live down stream and you get baths or showers, you are touching the radiated Schuylkill water every day.(Disgusting, isn't it, while Exelon is laughing its way to the bank ?) Please call or visit ACE for the facts. They listed their number. -no need to beat around the bush. Or you can go read the permits yourself. Or go to www.acereport.org. I was also told by Mr. Rosebrook at the NRC that the Ramapo Fault Line is an active fault line (app. 17 miles away) which includes other faults which branch off, including Chalfont, 9 miles East of Limerick. The article failed to mention the "new" finding presented to the NRC at the meeting last week.- The Sanatoga Fault Line under the site! .
Lorraine Ruppe April 23, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Steve Aaron of PA Energy Alliance, funded by Exelon.. cough, cough- can you direct me to the site where you said 80% of 800 residents polled support nuclear energy? I find that hard to believe after Fukushima (which is still continuing),Three Mile Island and Chernobyl accidents- that 80% of people feel safe with nuclear energy. Meanwhile I and others in the community are very concerned about the quarry right next to Limerick plant blasting near these fault lines for years and years, and the airport, etc, etc.. don't forget the suspected terrorist that worked at Limerick(and other plants) for years.Anyone know what happened to him?.
Tom Bartman April 24, 2012 at 03:09 AM
If you honestly believe that "you are touching the radiated Schuylkill water" within the steam produced from the plant, then it pointless to continue this discussion. How is Exelon laughing their way to the bank? Have you seen their numbers? I offered three times for people to back up their facts and nobody can. This is the problem with activists. They make union signs, hit the union directors to be fed the talking points and have zero data to back up what they are being told, Yet, I am the one accused of spinning facts. So let's try this one final time and then I am done. What chemicals are toxic and how is the steam radioactive? Any takers?
Lorraine Ruppe April 24, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Tom B obviously doesn't know how to read, but by some freak accident he knows how to type. Tom was invited to call ACE (610-326-2387) and visit the ACE office for more info about these chemicals. .A few of the corrosive chemicals are sulfuric acid, phosphoric acid, sodium hydroxide, zinc oxide, chlorine. Per NPDES permit renewal, ACE learned over 94,293 to 192,614 pounds of chemicals PER DAY are used. Check www.acereport.org under Limerick Major Air Pollution- #5 . BTW Mr. Aaron, did you find the site with the poll yet?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »