The South Texas Project nuclear power station near Bay City, Texas has not yet dodged a bullet from a very powerful Hurricane Harvey. The hurricane battered the Texas Gulf Coast region from August 25 to August 30, 2017 finally dumping an all time record 50-inches of rainfall flooding the Houston metropolitan area 112 miles to the northeast of the reactors before moving on. At publishing time, the Colorado River is cresting over its banks at 47′ feet, three feet above flood stage (44 feet), at the gauging station at Bay City on August 31, 2017. The Colorado runs adjacent to the East of the reactor site. But the operators are still projecting that the flood water will not impact the reactor site. The South Texas nuclear power station has remained at full power throughout the hurricane and tropical storm. The reactor site never experienced sustained winds over 73 miles per hour that would have triggered an Emergency Action Level requiring the reactor to shut down. Given the unique cooling system, projections for flooding are a much more vague criteria left to the operator’s discretion. The reactor site at no time during the storm lost offsite power from the electric grid that provides electricity to 100% of reactor safety and cooling systems. Loss Of Offsite power (LOOP) would have automatically shut down the reactors. With the loss of offsite power, nuclear power stations have back up emergency power systems, like emergency diesel generators, which provide electricity to a vital subset of those reactor safety and cooling. A “SCRAM” however leaves operators with an extremely hot reactor core to be cooled on narrower safety margins.
Beyond Nuclear 29th Aug 2017 read more »
This week, Duke Energy Florida announced that it will terminate all plans to build its Levy Nuclear Project. And as part of a deal with the Florida Public Service Commission, the company will instead invest $6 billion in solar energy, smart meters, and grid modernization as well as electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and a battery storage pilot program. Duke’s move reflects global trends that see surging growth for solar power as prices plummet, while increasingly uncompetitive nuclear power stagnates.
Renew Economy 1st Sept 2017 read more »