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First Energy’s Unit 1 Nuclear Reactor Offline for Maintenance

First Energy’s Unit 1 nuclear reactor in Shippingport was shut down Saturday for routine maintenance.

Unit 2 will remain online during this time. Every 18-24 months nuclear reactors must be turned off for upkeep.

“The fuel that we use in the reactor only lasts for about 3 operating cycles, so we have to replace a 3rd of the fuel. We’ll also perform inspections of all the major equipment at the plant, such as lubricating different pieces of equipment; performing calibrations; and just checking to make sure that everything is in good shape for long term operation of the plant,” said Jennifer Young, spokeswoman for First Energy.

Young says the shutdown should not impact customers, because the outage has been coordinated with the company that manages the power grid, PJM. She also said  safety precautions are well planned  to protect employees.

Citing “competitive reasons,” Young would not comment on how long the reactor would be shut down. 

Jess was accepted as a WESA fellow in the news department in January 2014. The Erie, PA native attends Duquesne University where she has a double major--broadcast journalism and political science. Following her anticipated graduation in May 2015, she plans to enter law school or begin a career in broadcast journalism.
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