Wednesday’s storms took out all of TVA’s electric power transmission lines in Mississippi and North Alabama, and forced Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant unto diesel backup power and into emergency and automatic cold shutdown.
Bill McCollum, the chief operating officer of Tennessee Valley Authority, said it may be weeks before power can be restored to all of the 300,000 customers whose power is supplied by the federal utility.
“With the level of damage we have, it will be — we hope it will be days until we get most of the customers back on, but it will be weeks before we’ve fully repaired all of the damage,” he said.
McCollum said the reactors, now being cooled by backup diesel power, are safe.
(CNN) – Crews are working to restore power to a nuclear plant in northern Alabama.
The severe storms that cut across the Southeast Wednesday night also managed to knock out external power to three nuclear reactors at the Browns Ferry plant.
Back-up generators kicked in, so nuclear regulators said the plant is safely in shutdown mode.
– Tornadoes damage reactors in U.S.; Backups work (CBS NEWS):
Alabama and other southern states are reeling from a series of tornadoes that killed more than 200 people. But there’s no nuclear disaster to go with the natural disaster — a promising sign amid concerns that the U.S. could someday face a nuclear crisis like the one that has followed the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
The savage storms in that passed through parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Virginia on Wednesday knocked out power to the Browns Ferry nuclear power plant, about 30 miles west of Huntsville, Ala.
“The Browns Ferry units are among 23 U.S. reactors that are similar in design to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan where backup generators were swept away in the tsunami that followed the massive earthquake on March 11,” Reuters reported.
– Browns Ferry hit by major storms (World Nuclear News):
The three boiling water reactors at TVA’s Browns Ferry nuclear power plant in Alabama shut down automatically with cooling systems powered by “a combination of offsite transmission and on-site diesel generators.” However, the shutdown was notified as an ‘unusual event’ to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission “when the normal and alternate power supplies for essential equipment were unavailable for more than 15 minutes.” TVA stressed that “safety systems performed well.”
The plant shut down on 27 April at 4.36 pm and units 2 and 3 achieved cold shutdown at 2.43 am and 5.45 am on 28 April respectively. TVA said that unit 1 was was being cooled and the priority now was to get that reactor into cold shutdown as well.