Hurricane Irene Watch ~ Sunday Aug 28; 0830

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Update 08/29/11: The NRC Event Report for August 29, 2011, indicates the hurricane had more impact on nuclear reactors over the weekend than reported in the news media.   None of these events involved the release of radiation and there are no injuries associated with them.  See the report itself for details.

One unit shut at CENG

Constellation Energy Nuclear Group (CNEG) reported Unit 1 at its Calvert Cliff, Maryland refinery was shut automatically after a transformer in the switchyard was hit by a piece of aluminum siding from a nearby building.

CENG said the facility is safe, with no impact on employees at the plant or threat to the surrounding area.

The company declared an ‘Unusual Event’ – the lowest of four emergency classifications by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

“The Unit 1 reactor at CENG’s Calvert Cliffs, Maryland facility automatically went off-line,” a CENG spokesman said.

“It appears as if due to heavy gusts of winds caused by Hurricane Irene, a large piece of aluminum siding dislodged from a building. The siding came in contact with our main transformer. The facility is safe.”

Oyster Creek shuts down safely

Exelon Corp took its Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in New Jersey offline at 5 pm EDT Saturday. The plant initially lowered power to 30% as part of an orderly and safe shutdown process in anticipation of high winds from the hurricane. The plant must close when winds exceed 75 mph.

Update 1300 hrs; 08/28/11: Oyster Creek reports a walk down of the plant reports no damage to the facilities.

In New Jersey Gov Christie urged sightseers to get off the beach and out of harms way.

Millstone reduces power

Dominion Resources Inc is reducing power at its two-unit Millstone plant in Connecticut, a company spokesman said.

Brunswick reduces power

Progress Energy’s Brunswick nuclear plant, located on the North Carolina coast, cut to 65 to 75 percent power late Friday and does not expect to return to full power until after the storm has fully passed, a spokesman said.

Indian Point Ready

Entergy company officials say their Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan is “designed and built to withstand extreme weather.” Staff has worked “diligently this past week to ensure our plants are prepared for any impacts resulting from this storm,” according to Entergy Nuclear President John Herron.

He said the company is coordinating emergency communications systems with the NRC, FEMA and state agencies and backup diesel-powered generators are available to provide electricity to plant safety systems if power is lost. If offsite power goes down, Indian Point is designed to safely shut down if its needs to, Herron said.

He said under severe weather procedures, plant operators monitoring area wind speeds may actually take precautionary actions to begin shutting the plants down prior to those winds reaching the site.

Update 1300 hrs; 08/28/11: Entergy reports  Indian point and Vermont Yankee are operating normally with no storm damage.

NRC monitoring plant status

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it sent additional staff to monitor conditions and storm preparation at the 14 nuclear units from Maryland to New Hampshire in Irene’s path as well as a nuclear fuel production plant in North Carolina.

Up and down the east coast nearly three million people are without power and more outages are expected as the hurricane heads north northeast at 25 mph into New England states.  At 0830 the center of the hurricane was over central Connecticut.

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