Waterford Hurricane Ida Update 8.31.21

entergy new orleans transmission tower mississippi

Today’s update we are leading with a semi related photograph. This downed transmission tower, owned and maintained
by Entergy is a key piece of the grid in New Orleans. This is the one known route to share power across the Mississippi river.
A twitter account in the area shared the photo showing a heavily rusted, poorly maintained electrical tower.
This tower is south of Waterford nuclear power plant, closer to New Orleans. This may not have directly impacted Waterford,
but it did sever a significant piece of the power grid that could have sped up the power restoration to Waterford.

Updates:

  • River Bend nuclear plant near Baton Rouge has increased power from 35% to 40%. Entergy states they reduced power is at the request of the grid authority due to widespread grid damage/lack of demand. They have gone out of “sequestered” status.
  • Waterford nuclear plant is assessing wind and water damage to “non nuclear” buildings on site. They are clearing debris and stated the emergency diesel power for the reactor is continuing to function.
  • There was a reportable event during the storm induced shutdown of Waterford. The reactor temps exceeded 350f causing workers to turn on the emergency feedwater train for about 43 minutes to bring the reactor back into temperature safety margins.
  • A boiler service crew announced they were traveling to Waterford to “heat up” the reactor with a portable boiler. This does not appear to be a standard process in restarting a reactor. It may be a tactic to speed up the restart of Waterford by pre-heating the coolant water once they are able to restart. As of yesterday Entergy was still doing walk downs and removing debris. The claim by this portable boiler company that Waterford would restart the reactor by end of the week seems unrealistic.
  • The power grid in the region is still mostly down, none of the grid near Waterford is operable (see more below).

 

Norco Shell refinery viewed from the side of the river where Waterford is located. Image via Washington Post – Michael Robinson Chavez

 

Grid map below screen shot taken this morning about 10am CST. This shows no functionality of the grid near Waterford and no change from yesterday.

 

 

Regional grid map screen shot taken about 10am CST this morning. Some grid restoration around Morgan City and parts of Baton Rouge. No changes to the grid in the vicinity of New Orleans metro.

 

River level of the Mississippi at Norco near Waterford. Levels trended down yesterday and have leveled off about 2 feet above pre-hurricane levels.
Outside of the risk of debris in the river clogging the water intakes, the river doesn’t appear to be posing a hazard at Waterford.

There are many unanswered questions about the situation at Waterford:

  • What buildings were damaged and to what extent?
  • What systems on site were damaged or are out of service?
  • Is the plant accessible by road into the main site grounds?
  • What portions of the grid need to be reestablished for Waterford to regain offsite power?
  • How much fuel is remaining on site for the emergency generators?

 

Check out the Nuclear Hotseat podcast this week where Nancy talks with podcast host Libbe HaLevy about the hurricane outage at Waterford 3.

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One thought on “Waterford Hurricane Ida Update 8.31.21

  • September 1, 2021 at 2:22 pm
    Permalink

    Boilers are used to provide auxiliary steam to non-nuclear plant systems like Main turbine Gland Seals and Main Condenser air ejectors. It’s a normal process for resuming electricity production after a sustained loss of offsite power.

    Reply

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