Lights Out?: How the Grid Copes When a Nuclear Power Plant Goes Down [News]

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 - 16:49 in Physics & Chemistry

Last Friday at 11 A.M., the operators of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in Vernon, Vt., detected a leak. About 60 gallons (225 liters) of water a minute was escaping from the eastern cooling tower of the 620-megawatt power plant that provides nearly three quarters of the state's electricity needs. By noon, the owners had shut down both the damaged and undamaged cooling towers and had cut the plant's electricity output in half to avoid any harm to the reactor. By Monday, the plant was operating at 23 percent capacity because of limits on the amount of water it could use from the Connecticut River to cool its nuclear core. [More]

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