(Oct 30, 2012) A New Jersey nuclear plant is on alert as flood waters from Hurricane Sandy threatens the cooling of its spent uranium fuel rods.Exelon said that a further rise in water levels could force operators at its New Jersey Oyster Creek nuclear power plant to use emergency water supplies from a fire hose to cool the spent rods.The alert – the second lowest of four Nuclear Regulatory Commission action levels – came after water levels at the plant rose by more than 6.5 feet, potentially affecting the pumps that circulate water through the plant from Barnegat Bay, an NRC spokesman said. Those pumps are not essential since the plant is shut for planned refueling at the moment. However a further rise to 7 feet could submerge the service water pump motor that is used to cool the water in the spent fuel pool.If cooling ceased, the pool would take 25 hours to reach boiling point.The spokesman said the company could use water from a fire hose to cool the pool if necessary.
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