PSEG takes Salem 1 offline; Entergy’s Northeast nukes withstand Sandy

Public Service Enterprise Group (NYSE: PEG) said early Oct. 30 that subsidiary PSEG Nuclear manually shutdown the Salem Unit 1 reactor in New Jersey shortly after 1 a.m.

The shutdown occurred per plant operating procedures when four of the station’s six circulating water pumps were no longer available due to weather impacts from Hurricane Sandy. The circulating water pumps use Delaware Bay/River water to condense steam on the non-nuclear side of the plant.

The neighboring Hope Creek plant remains at full power. Salem Unit 2 has been offline since October 14 for a scheduled refueling outage, PSEG said in a statement.

No issues were encountered during the Salem Unit 1 shutdown and the plant is currently stable.

Each Salem unit has a net generating capacity of 1,175 MW. Hope Creek has a net generating capacity of 1,219 MW. Together, the three units comprise the second largest commercial nuclear facility in the United States.

Meanwhile, Entergy (NYSE: ETR) said all its Northeast nuclear plants weathered the storm safely.

As for specific power status changes, Indian Point 2, FitzPatrick and Pilgrim remained at full power while Vermont Yankee reduced power to 88% at the request of ISO New England to help maintain grid stability. Indian Point 3 automatically shut down at 10:41 p.m. Monday as a result of an electrical grid disturbance, Entergy said in a news release.

“Nuclear plants are built to exceed the most severe natural forces historically reported for their geographic area,” said Entergy Nuclear President and CEO John Herron.

Some nuclear plants in the Northeast sequestered certain staff overnight, officials said.

NEI touts nuclear plant performance during storm

The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) issued a statement saying that Hurricane Sandy shows that nuclear plants are incredibly sturdy.

Thirty-four nuclear energy facilities in the path of Hurricane Sandy have responded well and safely to this powerful storm, demonstrating their resilience against severe natural forces, NEI said in a news release.

Of the 34 nuclear facilities from South Carolina to Vermont in Hurricane Sandy’s path, 24 continued to operate safely and generate electricity throughout the event. Seven were already shut down for refueling or inspection, and three in New Jersey or New York safely shut down, as designed, because of storm conditions or grid disturbances, NEI said.

NRC inspectors have been stationed at each nuclear energy facility to oversee preparation for and recovery from the storm, NEI noted.

“Beyond the physical strength of these nuclear power plants, the professional crews that operate and maintain them take exacting precautions as significant storms approach,” said NEI President and CEO Marvin Fertel. Crews at nuclear plants also coordinate with local, state and federal emergency response officials, Fertel said.

In addition to nuclear power plants, there were also outages reported at a trio of fossil plants in West Virginia, according to an analysis by Genscape. Outages were reported at the Longview, Mount Storm and Fort Martin power plants.

The 700-MW Longview coal plant  in Maidsville, W.Va., is owned by Longview Power, LLC, which is in turn majority-owned by First Reserve Corp., according to the Longview website. Dominion (NYSE: D) owns the three-unit Mount Storm coal plant in northern West Virginia. FirstEnergy (NYSE: FE) now owns the Fort Marin coal plant.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.