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November 5, 2014

Dukovany to shut down two reactors to repair water pipe leak

First defect on technical water system during plant’s 30-year history will not affect consumers

Dukovany, south Moravia, Nov. 5 (ČTK) — The Dukovany nuclear power plant will make an unplanned shutdown of its reactors numbers 3 and 4 today in order to repair a pipe leakage that has occurred on one of three systems of important technical water, spokesman Petr Spilka told the Czech News Agency.

At this moment, it seems like the shutdown will last several days, Spilka said. The remaining two reactors will continue full operation, he said.

According to power utility ČEZ spokeswoman Barbora Půlpánová, customers will not be affected by the fall of half of Dukovany’s supply, because the electricity market can offset it.

Dukovany covers one-fifth of domestic power consumption.

The situation is being monitored by the State Nuclear Safety Authority (SÚJB). “It is impossible to run the plant in the long run without the system being perfectly tight. But this situation has no influence on safety,” SÚJB head Dana Drábová said.

The important technical water in the system where the leakage was found serves to cool down important technical and safety equipment.

The cooling of two reactors that have been affected has been rerouted from the damaged system to the remaining two systems.

“Safety operation rules enable units 3 and 4 to operate in such a regime for three days,” Spilka said. It was not, however, possible to remove the defect within this period of time, he added.

According to Spilka, this is the first defect on the important technical water system in the plant’s almost 30-year history.

The leakage was discovered on the second cooling system last Monday, near the ongoing construction of new cooling towers.

Technicians are now going to examine whether the construction of cooling towers contributed to the leakage, which occurred at a depth of 4 meters. They are nevertheless already preparing measures to moderate the impacts of the construction on its surroundings.

The Dukovany plant consists of four production units. Each of them is regularly shut down once a year for fuel replacement and checks.

So far this year, three shutdowns have occurred.

Last year, Dukovany supplied a record amount of 15.68 terawatt hours (TWh) of power to the grid.

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