Entergy nuclear plant in Louisiana goes offline during lightning storm

The Entergy (NYSE:ETR) River Bend nuclear plant in Louisiana went offline unexpectedly during a lightning storm in the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 9, according to an event report filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).  

River Bend is a roughly 1,000-MW boiling water reactor (BWR) located in St. Francisville, La. The facility was still listed at zero power in NRC records early Jan. 11.

“On 1/9/16 at 0237 [CST], River Bend Station sustained a reactor scram during a lightning storm,” according to the report filed with NRC.

“An electrical transient occurred resulting in a full main steam isolation [MSIV] (Group 6) and a Division II Balance of Plant isolation signal. During the scram, level 8 occurred immediately which tripped the feed pumps. A level 3 signal occurred also during the scram. Subsequent level 3 was received three times due to isolated vessel level control. The plant was stabilized and all spurious isolation signals reset, then the MSIVs were restored.”

During the scram, all rods were inserted into the core. The plant was initially cooled down using safety relief valves. Offsite power is available and the plant is in its normal shutdown electrical lineup, according to the report.

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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.