Status at the Halden Reactor 28 October
Monday 24 October at 1.45 PM a release of radioactive iodine was recorded when damaged test fuel was handled in the reactor hall. The Halden Reactor was at that time shut down for maintenance in accordance with normal operating procedures.
The release has not put IFE's employees or the environment in danger. No employees have received any radioactive doses of significance. Measurements performed by the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) Tuesday, 24/10 at and around the IFE plant showed no signs of contamination by radioactive iodine. Emissions of radioactive iodine to the air in connection with the incident represent approximately 8 % of the annual discharge permit, while the discharge to water represents approximately 15 % of the annual discharge permit.
Status Friday 28 October
Since Friday, 28/10, the reactor hall has remained closed, and the air in the reactor hall circulates through charcoal filters to remove the iodine. The concentration of radioactive iodine in the reactor hall is decreasing, and the air in the reactor hall is continuously being measured to monitor the development.
IFE's main focus now is to get the Halden Reactor back to normal maintenance condition. The next step is to ensure the sealing of the container with the damaged test fuel with a further seal, and to bring the level of radioactivity in the reactor hall back to normal.
Protecting health, safety and the environment governs the planning of further measures. IFE is in close dialogue with the NRPA about the practical work to deal with the damaged test fuel element and get the plant back to its normal state. The NRPA is regularly updated and IFE obtains all necessary approvals for work from them. Other work at the plant in Halden proceeds as normal, also at the reactor facility outside the reactor hall.
As part of the continued work related to the follow-up of the incidence, the reactor hall will be vented to the atmosphere through filters. Water from the reactor hall is now transferred to storage tanks outside the reactor hall, where the water is treated before discharge to the river Tista. These operations will involve controlled release of very low levels of radioactivity to the air and water. The emissions have been approved by the NRPA and are below the limits in the permit. These operations represent no danger for IFE's employees, the population or the environment outside the plant.
Expected startup in 2017 as planned
IFE plans to resume normal operation of the Halden Reactor at the beginning of 2017, provided that the work of dealing with the damaged test fuel proceeds as planned, and that the necessary approvals have been obtained from the NRPA.
The Halden Reactor is a 25 MW heavy water-moderated and -cooled reactor located 100 meters inside the mountain in Halden, with 30 to 50 meters of solid rock above the reactor hall. Photo: Espen Røst Dagbladet.
2016-10-28 Translation to English 2016-10-31