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In Harms Way – New Nuclear Weather Report: State of Florida, USA

2017/09/06

Two South Florida nuclear power plants lie in Irma’s path. Are they ready?


North America – USA | State of Florida,  Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station
Location: 25°26’03.0″N 80°19’50.0″W
Present Operational Age: ~44 years
Emergency Class: UNUSUAL EVENT (Extreme Weather Event)
10 CFR Section:
50.72(a) (1) (i) – EMERGENCY DECLARED
50.72(b)(2)(xi) – OFFSITE NOTIFICATION

Nuclear Event in USA on Thursday, 07 September, 2017 at 23:14 [EDT].

Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station

The Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Station, near Homestead, Florida, USA. Image from the Wikimedia Commons.

NOTIFICATION OF UNUSUAL EVENT – HURRICANE WARNING

“At 2300 today, the National Weather Service issued a hurricane warning for the area including Turkey Point Nuclear Units 3 & 4. On that basis, a Notice of Unusual Event was declared at 2314 [EDT]. In anticipation of severe weather, the site has completed proceduralized high wind preparations. Our plants have been specifically built to withstand natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding and tidal surges. This approach will ensure the safety of operations and our employees and the communities surrounding our plants.

“Both units are currently stable at 100% power level.

“The NRC Resident Inspector has been informed.”

No safety systems are out of service. The electrical grid is stable but grid risk is high.

Notified DHS, FEMA, NICC, and NNSA (e-mail).

Source: NRC  Event Number:  52952


North America – USA | State of Florida,  St. Lucie Nuclear Generating Station
Location: 27°20’55.0″N 80°14’47.0″W
Present Operational Age: ~35 years
Emergency Class: UNUSUAL EVENT
10 CFR Section:
50.72(a) (1) (i) – EMERGENCY DECLARED
50.72(b)(2)(xi) – OFFSITE NOTIFICATION

Nuclear Event in USA on Friday, 08 September 2017 at 17:14 [EDT].

St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant

St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant. Photo D Ramey Logan, Image from the Wikimedia Commons.


NOTIFICATION OF UNUSUAL EVENT – HURRICANE WARNING

“At time 1700 [EDT] today, the National Weather Service issued a Hurricane Warning for the area including the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant. On that basis, a Notice of Unusual Event was declared at time 1714 [EDT]. In anticipation of severe weather, the site has completed proceduralized high wind preparations.

“Both units are currently stable at 100% power.”

The licensee notified both State and local agencies and has informed the NRC Resident Inspector.

No safety-related systems are out of service. The electrical grid is stable.

Notified DHS SWO, FEMA Operations Center, DHS NICC, FEMA NWC (email), DHS Nuclear SSA (email), and FEMA NRCC SASC (email).

* * * UPDATE ON 9/9/17 AT 1743 EDT FROM DALE THOMAS TO S. SANDIN * * *

“At 1701 [EDT] today (09/09/17), a 24-hour update was made to state and local governments following the National Weather Service issuing yesterday’s hurricane warning for the area including St. Lucie Plant. On that basis, a Notice of Unusual Event was declared yesterday (09/08/17) at 1714 [EDT]. There are no changes in plant status for either Unit.

“In anticipation of severe weather, the site previously completed high wind preparations. Our plants have been specifically built to withstand natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding and tidal surges. This approach will ensure the safety of operations and our employees and the communities surrounding our plants.

“Both units are currently stable at 100% power level and will remain at that power since hurricane force winds are not currently projected to reach St. Lucie Plant.

“The NRC Resident Inspector has been informed.”

Notified R2DO (Michel).

* * * UPDATE ON 9/10/17 AT 1730 EDT FROM DALE THOMAS TO DONG PARK * * *

“At 1648 [EDT] today (09/10/17), a 24-hour update was made to state and local governments following the National Weather Service issuing Friday’s hurricane warning for the area including St. Lucie Plant. On that basis, a Notice of Unusual Event was declared yesterday (09/08/17) at 1714 [EDT]. There are no changes in plant status for either Unit.

“In anticipation of severe weather, the site previously completed high wind preparations. Our plants have been specifically built to withstand natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, flooding and tidal surges. This approach will ensure the safety of operations and our employees and the communities surrounding our plants.

“Both units are currently stable at 100% power level and will remain at that power since hurricane force winds are not currently projected to reach St. Lucie Plant.

“The NRC Resident Inspector has been informed.”

Notified R2IRC (Franke).

* * * UPDATE ON 9/11/17 AT 1405 EDT FROM BRIAN KELLY TO BETHANY CECERE * * *

“The Hurricane Warning has been terminated by the National Weather Service for St. Lucie County including the Plant Site. At time 1313 [EDT] on 9/11/17, St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant has terminated from the Unusual Event Classification.”

Unit 1 is currently shutdown in Mode 3, Hot Standby. Unit 2 continues to operate in Mode 1, 100 percent power.

The licensee notified State and Local Government Agencies, and the NRC Resident Inspector.

Notified R2IRC (Munday), R2DO (Michel), NRR EO (King), IRD MOC (Gott), DHS SWO, DOE Ops Center, FEMA Ops Center, HHS Ops Center, DHS NICC, USDA Ops Center, EPA Emergency Ops Center, FDA Emergency Ops Center (email), FEMA NWC (email), DHS Nuclear SSA (email), and FEMA NRCC SASC (email).

Source: NRC  Event Number:  52956


The last time a major hurricane hit the Turkey Point nuclear power plant, it caused $90 million in damages but left the nuclear reactors along southern Biscayne Bay unscathed.

In anticipation of powerful Hurricane Irma, which projections on Wednesday showed headed straight for South Florida, Florida Power & Light’s two nuclear plants were finalizing staffing plans and cleaning up the grounds. But neither Turkey Point nor the St. Lucie plant further up the coast had made the call yet to shutting down the plants.

Peter Robbins, spokesman for FPL, said shutting down a reactor is a gradual process, and the decision will be made “well in advance” of the storm making landfall.

“If we anticipate there will be direct impacts on either facility we’ll shut down the units,” he said.

FPL has long defended the safety of its nuclear power plants, which both sit along the coast where they are potentially exposed to the strongest winds and storm surge of hurricanes. And Turkey Point weathered a Category 5 strike from Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Robbins said the plant’s reactors are encased in six feet of steel-reinforced concrete and sit 20 feet above sea level. Turkey Point has backup generators, extra fuel and, as a “backup to the backup,” replacement parts and materials can be flown in from Tennessee.

The St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant is equally protected, Robbins said, and can withstand severe flooding from storm surges. St. Lucie’s nuclear plant survived Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in 2005 and Wilma the year after.

When the eye of Andrew passed over Turkey Point, some facilities around the reactor buildings took a beating. Ultimately, the state’s oldest nuclear plant suffered $90 million in damages, including to systems that were supposed to be hurricane-proof.

One of the 400-foot smokestacks for the old oil-burning power plant was cracked in half, even though it was rated to survive 235-mph winds. Andrew blew down all but six of the 41 warning sirens within 10 miles of the plant. The storm left the plant running on backup generators for more than a week to cool the shut-down reactor. A main access road was blocked by debris.

“It handled Andrew as it was designed to,” Robbins said. “It’s one of the safest and most robust structures in the state, of not the country.”

[Byline Alex Harris]

06 September2017
Miami Herald (edited)

Related

“Worst hurricane ever” headed straight for multiple US nuclear plants — Winds up to 225 MPH — Storm to cause “apocalyptic damage” — Officials making Fukushima comparisons (VIDEOS)

Ferocious Irma crosses islands on track aimed at Florida

————–

Flashback

TV: Explosion hits US nuclear plant — Officials declare emergency alert — “Fire shuts down reactor” — Gov’t conducting special investigation, possible “serious safety consequences” — “Atmospheric steam dumps” required (VIDEO)

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