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US Chides DTE For Errors Before Fermi 2 Pump Break

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Fermi 2 - Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Credit: Nuclear Regulatory Commission

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FRENCHTOWN TWP. (WWJ/AP) - A federal report is criticizing DTE Energy Co. for what it says are maintenance failures leading up to the June breakdown of a cooling water pump at the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s report says DTE failed to adequately oversee an earlier overhaul of the giant pump.

The NRC’s report says the failure resulted from improper reassembly after maintenance, inadequate maintenance testing, and restarting the pump out of normal startup sequence.

The catastrophic failure of the south reactor feedwater pump — one of two used to cool the reactor — has limited the nuclear plant’s power to 68 percent since the June mishap, The Monroe Evening News reported.

DTE officials, which agree with the report’s findings, said the utility expects to fix the pump during the first half of 2013.

Spokesman Guy Cerullo told reporters that DTE has taken “corrective actions to ensure these events do not happen again.”

Cerullo said the June breakdown of the cooling water pump is unrelated to a shutdown that occurred at the plant in November because of an excess of hydrogen gas in a cooling system for the main electrical generator.

Fermi has been running since Jan. 1988, after a construction period that spanned 20 years. Its located next to Lake Erie in Monroe County’s Frenchtown Township.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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