With the Southeast heading into the dog days of August, three nuclear power units, which together represent roughly 2,800 MW of non-carbon generation, have gone offline.
The affected units are the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Browns Ferry 1 in Alabama; the Dominion North Anna 2 facility in Virginia and the NextEra Energy (NYSE:NEE) Turkey Point 3 in Florida.
All three were listed at zero power generation early Aug. 1, according to data from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Browns Ferry 1 is a boiling water reactor (BWR) located in Limestone County, Alabama. The other two units are both pressurized water reactors (PWRs). North Anna 2 is located in Louisa County, Virginia and Turkey Point 3 is located in Miami-Dade County, Florida.
“Operators manually took TVA Browns Ferry Unit 1 offline at approximately 8 a.m. CDT on Tuesday, July 26, to address an issue with a valve located in containment,” a TVA spokesperson said in an email to GenerationHub.
“There is no safety impact to the public or employees. Once repairs are complete and fully tested, Unit 1 will be returned to service, most likely early this week,” the TVA spokesperson said Aug. 1.
“Operators at North Anna Power Station removed Unit 2 from service around noon Saturday [July 30] after detecting a small water leak on a pump Friday evening [July 29],” Dominion said in a Aug. 1 statement issued to employees. A Dominion spokesperson shared the statement with GenerationHub.
The water was leaking from a cooling line for a seal on one of the unit’s three reactor coolant system pumps.
The leak was very small – less than two-tenths of a gallon per minute. Water flowing though the closed-loop reactor coolant system during normal operation is roughly 70,000 gallons.
“The leak posed no threat to station employees or the public, and the water from the leak was diverted to a storage tank through piping designed for this purpose,” Dominion went on to say.
Water in the reactor coolant system transfers heat from the reactor to a secondary water system that creates steam to spin the turbine-generator for electrical production. “The unit will be returned to service soon,” Dominion said.
A spokesperson for NextEra’s Florida Power & Light Turkey Point 3 had this to say about the situation there:
“Thursday evening, our operators safely reduced the power output of Turkey Point Unit 3 so that workers could perform repairs on a component on the non-nuclear side of the plant. The unit will be returned to 100% power following work completion and testing,” the FPL spokesperson said. “As is common industry policy, we can’t comment on the timing of when the repairs will be completed,” the FPL spokesperson added.