Pilgrim shutdown after loss of offsite power from blizzard

Pilgrim’s core is being cooled by power from diesel generators following shutdown due to a loss of offsite power (LOOP) Friday night. A LOOP at Fukushima, Japan, followed by a Station Blackout due to complete diesel generator failure, triggered a nuclear disaster rivaled only by Chernobyl. One of the diesel generators at the North Anna reactor in Virginia failed to start after an earthquate on August 23, 2011. At that time there had been 74 reports of inoperable backup diesel generators over the prior eight years.

From Beyond Nuclear – Entergy Watch: Pilgrim Coalition urges NRC to require Mark I atomic reactor to shutdown during historic winter storm:

Reuters has reported that Pilgrim did automatically shutdown after a loss of offsite power last night. AP has reported that Pilgrim lost offsite power at 9:15 PM last night (as did several hundred thousands Massachusetts residents) due to the storm, and has been running cooling and safety systems with emergency back up generators since. AP has also reported that Seabrook, NH, “hometown” to a full-scale atomic reactor, was blanketed with 26 inches of snow. Despite the risk of power outages, NRC’s Power Reactor Status Report showed that, as of yesterday (the most recent report available), all reactors in the Northeast were still operating at or near full power.

Even when reactors automatically shutdown, as happened last night at Pilgrim, their hot core still needs to be actively cooled for days, or a meltdown can occur. If primary offsite power is lost, but emergency diesel generators function as designed, cooling to the reactor core can be maintained. But, as revealed by U.S. Congressman Ed Markey (D-MA), there is a long history of diesels not working when called upon in the U.S.

 

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