DTE Energy’s Fermi nuclear plant taking time for repair

US-based utility DTE Energy’s Fermi 2 reactor may not be able to run at full power for months because of substantial repairs required on a reactor feedwater pump that disintegrated in June 2012.

The generating station has been closed down since 7 November so that workers could take off the main electrical generator and search for the cause of a cooling system problem, reports Monroe.

DTE Energy spokesman Guy Cerullo noted that a small area in the system has been found which allowed hydrogen gas from one part of the cooling system to leak into other part, decreasing the system’s effectiveness.

The officials said they could not predict when the facility might be restarted, due to “market considerations.”

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng said workers had to take out the generator rotor to actually go inside the circular shaft to look for the leak.

“It takes a while because there are a bunch of little tubes in there. It takes a while to find out where the leak was,” Mitlyng added.

Built in 1988 after 20 years of construction, the Fermi plant provides about 15% of DTE Energy’s generating capacity in Southeast Michigan, US.