UNIVERSITY PARK – Work continues on repairs to the pool at Penn State’s Breazeale Reactor where contractors last week inspected the walls of the south end of the pool and made repairs to the divider wall that separates the two portions of the pool.
Work began Monday, Nov. 5, on sealing the walls of the south end of the pool.
On October 9, the reactor staff noticed an unusual loss of slightly radioactive water from the pool not related to evaporation and shut down the reactor to facilitate location of the minor leak. The estimated rate of the leak remains in the mid-teen gallons per hour.
Last week, the south pool walls were examined by ground penetrating radar and the south pool floor was examined using “micro-gravity.” No anomalies were found in preliminary results, but further results are expected in a few days. Also last week, a contractor sealed the pool divider wall.
In preparation for repair of the pool, reactor staff and Environmental Health and Safety personnel reviewed procedures for the repair of both sides of the pool to ensure the safety of the workers. The necessary utilities required for the repair are in place.
Water samples have been taken from nearby University test wells and monitoring points. An independent testing laboratory has reported results as being significantly below federal drinking water standards and showing no change in levels normally found.
The Breazeale Reactor provides nuclear analytical and testing facilities in support of the research and education activities of faculty, staff, and students at Penn State. The reactor has been shut down, however, the reactor classroom instruction and non-reactor research activities are continuing.
The Penn State Breazeale reactor is a TRIGA (Training Research and Isotope production General Atomic) reactor manufactured by General Atomics. It has a 1000-kilowatt steady state capacity and 2000-megawatt pulsing capability. The reactor holds license R-2 from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.