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Hotter water forces Pilgrim nuclear power plant to half capacity

Wind, tidal conditions force Pilgrim plant to half capacity,  By Joe DiFazio
The Patriot Ledger PLYMOUTH — The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station entered its fourth day at half capacity Thursday due to wind and tidal conditions.

Sea water helps cool the station and the plant’s spokesperson Pat O’Brien said that wind was blowing the warm water that leaves the station over toward the station’s intake.

The reduced power, he said, keeps the water leaving the station cooler.

“We can only take in water at 75 degrees and we reduce power to stay well below that,” said O’Brien.

Neil Sheehan, spokesperson for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said that tidal conditions also played a factor in the capacity reduction and pointed out that Cape Cod Bay’s water is generally warmer this time of year.

The power reduction, Sheehan said, should not have any impact on New England’s grid.

ISO New England, the region’s grid operator, said that nuclear power made up one quarter of the system’s fuel Thursday afternoon. New England has one other nuclear power plant in Seabrook, New Hampshire.

Pilgrim was offline for 43 days earlier this year to replace a startup transformer, said O’Brien. Winter storms and other repairs also put the station offline for several days.The beleaguered 45-year-old Pilgrim is the only station in the country’s lowest performance category for nuclear power plants due to technical problems and intermittent shutdowns. Pilgrim’s performance triggered additional federal oversight.

The plant is scheduled to go offline June 2019.

August 24, 2018 - Posted by | climate change, USA

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