August 28, 2011

Centre of Irene Nearing New York City – Oyster Creek Reactor Shut Down

In their 8 AM EDT public advisory bulletin the National Hurricane Centre say that the:


whilst the warnings they issued at 2 AM remain much the same. The models used by surf forecasting website MagicSeaweed suggest that the eye of the storm is currently passing almost directly over New York City, accompanied by strong onshore winds:

Wind forecast for New York City for 13:00 UTC on Sunday August 28th 2011

Wind forecast for New York City for 13:00 UTC on Sunday August 28th 2011

Those winds look set to swing strong offshore fairly soon, and those same winds and waves have only recently passed Exelon Corporation's Oyster Creek nuclear reactor. In anticipation of these events Exelon issued a press release last night stating that:

Operators at Oyster Creek Generating Station manually took the station’s generator off line at about 5 p.m. tonight.

Operators began a controlled shut-down of the reactor at 8 a.m. today due to the expected hurricane force winds from Hurricane Irene.

By procedure, Oyster Creek is required to shut down if sustained winds reach a certain level during a hurricane.  For this reason operators proactively, deliberately and slowly began the shutdown in anticipation of the storm’s arrival to ensure the plant was in a safe condition.

“Although we cannot predict with certainty whether we will see those wind speeds on the plant site, based on current weather projections and because of Oyster Creek’s proximity to Barnegat Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, it is prudent to safely shut down the plant in advance,” said Site Vice President Michael Massaro.

Whilst the Exelon website does mention that:

Oyster Creek began operating in December 1969 as the first large-scale commercial nuclear power plant in the United States.

for some reason neither their website overview of the reactor or that press release mentions that the reactor in question uses a GE Mark I containment vessel, the same type used at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan.

For some reason the press release issued by Progress Energy yesterday morning also neglected to mention that their Brunswick nuclear plant also uses a GE Mark I containment vessel.

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