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Vulnerability of Louisiana’s Waterford 3 nuclear plant to storm surge

Intensifying Hurricane Ida a significant threat to key infrastructure.   Ida is forecast to hit the industrial corridor between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, site of three key ports, petrochemical sites, and a nuclear power plant. Yale Climate Connections, by JEFF MASTERS and BOB HENSON, AUGUST 29, 2021

Vulnerability of Waterford 3 nuclear plant to storm surge. Although it lies 65 miles inland from the south coast of Louisiana, the Waterford 3 nuclear generating station, located at an elevation of 10-15 feet on the south shore of the Mississippi River, is vulnerable to storm surge from a major hurricane. Hurricane Betsy, a category 4 storm that hit Louisiana in 1965, brought a storm surge to the edge of the plant’s location (Figure 3 on original).

According to a 2019 analysis by Bloomberg, the Waterford 3 plant is designed to withstand a maximum storm surge of 23.7 feet above sea level, or about 10 feet higher than the plant’s elevation. According to NOAA’s National Storm Surge Hazard database, a worst-case category 3 hurricane could flood the plant to a depth of 3’, while a worst-case category 4 hurricane could flood the plant to a depth of more than 9’ – near its design limit. Fortunately, storm surge modeling by Louisiana State University using the 11 a.m. EDT Saturday NHC forecast showed Ida’s storm surge stopping just short of the plant (Figure 4 on original)

After the 2011 disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Waterford 3 plant moved to store all of its emergency generators, pumps, and other essential safety equipment in a 30-foot flood-proof concrete bunker – a system called Flex, for Flexible Mitigation Capability. The bunker has manually operated and powered sump pumps to remove water in the event of a flood.

After the 2011 disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Waterford 3 plant moved to store all of its emergency generators, pumps, and other essential safety equipment in a 30-foot flood-proof concrete bunker – a system called Flex, for Flexible Mitigation Capability. The bunker has manually operated and powered sump pumps to remove water in the event of a flood……………………..  https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2021/08/intensifying-hurricane-ida-a-significant-threat-to-key-infrastructure/

August 29, 2021 - Posted by | climate change, USA

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