WADSWORTH — South Texas Project officials declared an unusual event early Friday after operators at the nuclear plant noticed a reactor coolant leak while restarting the unit after an almost month-long refueling process, officials said. The leak was quickly contained and controlled and posed no threat, officials said.

The units run on an 18-month cycle before refueling is required, and Unit 1 had been shut down since Oct. 17, said Buddy Eller, general manager of communications and external affairs.

When operators went through the start-up process Friday morning, they found the leak and opted for safety, declaring an unusual event, the lowest level of emergency classifications by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Eller said.

“The leakage was internal to the plant system,” he said. “There was never any outside plant leakage. The best way to put it, it was an on-site storage tank. They noticed the levels weren’t where they should be, so they quickly identified and isolated the area.”

The facility is managed by the STP Nuclear Operating Company and owned by NRG, CPS and Austin Energy. STP’s twin reactors produce 2,700 megawatts of carbon-free electricity.

The unusual event was exited, or canceled, at 8:02 a.m.

“Our plant operators took immediate, conservative actions to ensure nuclear safety,” STP Site Vice President Tim Powell said in a news release.

“This issue was maintained within plant systems and was quickly identified and addressed by plant operators. Our commitment, first and foremost, is to nuclear safety.”

Brittany Lamas is a reporter at The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0151.

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