Feathers, but it can also mean springs or shock absorbers.
taz.de reported that the big utility Eon is pushing for a fast restart to a nuclear power plant in Grohnde, Lower Saxony, despite safety concerns. The plant would have restarted on 11 May 2014 but there was generator damage. Then foreign bodies turned up in the reactor core—springs or shock absorbers [Feder] had broken off 9 of 131 throttle bodies, which regulate the flow of cooling water around the radioactive fuel rods. Other pressurized-water nuclear reactors in Germany use the same throttle bodies, said taz, but neither Lower Saxony’s environmental minister (Green party) nor the federal environmental minister (S.P.D.) wanted to say which plants these were.
Lower Saxony’s environmental minister has asked Hannoverian prosecutors to investigate tips the ministry received that cracks in the reactor’s secondary circuit had been fixed with temporary welding. Eon was said to have put pressure on the company doing the repairs to even get them to take on the job.
Half the throttle bodies in the Grohnde reactor core have now been replaced. And Eon says calling their welding inadequate is an “abstruse assertion.”
The Grohnde nuclear plant is scheduled to be restarted on Monday, 23 Jun 2014.
Update on 22 Jun 2014: Eon announced today that they restarted the Grohnde nuclear power plant yesterday, after Lower Saxony’s environmental ministry issued the permit to restart on Friday.
Built in 1984, the plant is scheduled to be the last Lower Saxony nuclear power plant taken offline in 2022.