Storms knock out TVA nuclear units, power lines

HOUSTON Wed Apr 27, 2011 7:25pm EDT

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HOUSTON (Reuters) - Severe storms and tornadoes moving through the Southeast dealt a severe blow to the Tennessee Valley Authority on Wednesday, causing three nuclear reactors in Alabama to shut and knocking out 11 high-voltage power lines, the utility and regulators said.

All three units at TVA's 3,274-megawatt Browns Ferry nuclear plant in Alabama tripped about 5:30 EDT (2230 GMT) after losing outside power to the plant, a spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Agency said.

A TVA spokeswoman said the plant's output had reduced power earlier due to transmission line damage from a line of severe storms that spawned a number of tornadoes as it moved through Mississippi, Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.

The NRC spokesman said early information indicated the units shut normally and the plant's diesel generators started up to supply power for the plant's safety system.

The government owned corporation said crews were working to restore service, but more severe weather was forecast, TVA said in a release.

Most of the damage so far has occurred in the western part of TVA's service territory in Mississippi, Alabama and western Tennessee and Kentucky.

Cullman Electric Cooperative in Cullman, Alabama, is the only power company directly affected by TVA's transmission outage, TVA said in a statement.

Rainfall amounts between four and seven inches have fallen since Tuesday in the area. Eight of the nine dams on the Tennessee River were generating at full power to move water through the river system to help control flooding, TVA said.

Details of the transmission outages and co-op power outages were immediately available.

(Reporting by Eileen O'Grady; editing by Marguerita Choy and Andre Grenon)

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Comments (5)
none123459 wrote:
Good thing the diesel generators kicked in, Browns Ferry being a GE Mark 1 BWR and all….

Apr 27, 2011 10:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Northside wrote:
Yeah, lucky that the diesel kicked in. If not, they would have had to rely on any of the other 3+ emergency diesel generators or off-site generators to provide power to the cooling systems. Had those gone out they would have had to rely on being designed to handle many hours of blackout conditions from things like tornados and earthquakes.

Apr 27, 2011 11:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Neurochuck wrote:
Wikipedia of Browns Ferry is interesting history.
“One was shut down for a year after a fire in 1975 damaged the unit. The unit was subsequently repaired and operated from 1976 through 1985, when all three Browns Ferry units were shut down for operational and management issues. Units Two and Three were restarted in 1991 and 1995, respectively.”
“In 2006, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) renewed the licenses for all three reactors, extending them for an additional twenty years”

So no problems. A cheapy, but a solid old eggbeater.
Dont know about the warranty conditions. A bargain at the price.

Apr 27, 2011 11:57pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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