Hope Creek Back Online from Refueling Outage – Now Producing Cobalt 60

- Edited By Chris Reed –

Hope Creek Nuclear Power Plant excited their refueling outage last week. Hope Creek

The outage work included replacing three of the station’s 18 feedwater heaters and repairs on a residual heat removal heat exchanger. Workers also replaced condensate pump motors and performed maintenance on the cooling towers as well, said Joe Delmar, spokesman for PSEG Nuclear.

What made this fueling outage unique was it marked PSEG Nuclear’s entry into the production of Cobalt-60 at the Artificial Island.

As part of this refueling outage, Delmar said, 12 of the new fuel assemblies going into the reactor core will integrate rods containing Cobalt-59 pellets.

In October, PSEG Nuclear received approval from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to produce Cobalt-60, a radioisotope used in cancer treatments, for sterilizing foods and medical devices and other uses.

As the nuclear fuel bundles undergo the normal fission reaction process in the plant’s core during power operation, the Cobalt-59 pellets would absorb the neutrons from the reaction and become Cobalt-60.

The Cobalt-60 will be transported from the Island to a processing facility before being sold for commercial use.

PSEG Nuclear is producing the radioisotope in partnership with GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy.

Hope Creek is only the second nuclear reactor in the U.S. to gain approval from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to produce Cobalt-60.

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