Hope Creek (USA)

Map of Hope Creek

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BWR 1100 MW constructed by General Electric; grid connection in 1986.

Facilities in Hope Creek

plantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
Hope Creek-1BWR19761986

Start of maintenance & refueling outage;
start up: 18-3-1996


While cooling down the reactor for an unplanned maintenance operators improperly reduced cooling water flow to the core causing it to boil.
An improper valve alignment directed some of the shutdown cooling water away from the core and to the RHR pumps - about 20 % of the flow were directed away from the vessel at first, this doubled later which lead to local boiling and repressurization of the RCS.
Loss of shutdown cooling has become so common at Hope Creek, that the operators "expect it to occur," a NRC official said.
Risks during low power and shutdown operation have long been an issue for NRC , but much attention has focused on PWRs. The Hope Creek boiling incident has heightened concerns about BWRs. Significant generic concers regard water level indication, because lots of steam displaced water in the vessel leading to a normal water level reading.
PSEG will pay 100.000 US$ for the four violations of NRC requirements which soused the incident. Since 1987 the unit has lost shutdown cooling 10 times.In 3 of the last 5 incidents the problem was caused by failure to adhere to procedures.


Design basis error existed since initial operation: the ultimate heat sink temperature limit was unconservatively high. Service water system might be inoperable.


HPCI turbine oil analyses revealed unacceptable levels of moisture and sediment. Design deficiency of the oil reservoir.


Pressure boundary leakage on recirculation pump discharge valves in RCS, caused by overstressed welds.