Australian news, and some related international items

Climate change causing nuclear plant shutdowns in USA – now heat shuts a coastal one

Heat Shuts Down a Coastal Reactor NYT, By MATTHEW L. WALD  A reactor at the Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford, Conn., has shut down because of something that its 1960s designers never anticipated: the water in Long Island Sound was too warm to cool it.

Under the reactor’s safety rules, the cooling water can be no higher than 75 degrees. On Sunday afternoon, the water’s temperature soared to 76.7 degrees, prompting the operator, Dominion Power, to order the shutdown of the 880-megawatt reactor.

“Temperatures this summer are the warmest we’ve had since operations began here at Millstone,’’ said a spokesman for Dominion, Ken Holt. The plant’s first reactor, now retired, began operation in 1970.

The plant’s third reactor was still running on Monday, but engineers were watching temperature trends carefully out of concern that it, too, might have to shut down….. And higher water temperatures could lie ahead. The sound’s temperature usually does not peak until late August….. Power plants in the Midwest have also experienced problems as temperatures soared in recent weeks. In some cases, reactors shut down because the cooling water was too warm; in others, the ongoing drought had shrunken the body of water from which the cooling water is drawn, and the plant’s intake pipes were above the surface.

Last month the twin-unit Braidwood nuclear plant in Illinois needed special permission to keep operating because its cooling water pond reached 102 degrees as a result of low rainfall and high air temperatures. When Braidwood opened 26 years ago, it was designed to run at temperatures up to 98 degrees.


August 14, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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