Pilgrim Cools; Back to Full Power

Monday, July 22, 2013 @ 06:07 PM gHale


A heat wave changed enough where the Pilgrim nuclear power plant in Plymouth, MA, was able to return back to full production last Friday, after temporarily reducing its power output Wednesday.

This past week’s heat wave made Cape Cod Bay water too warm to use for cooling the reactor. But Friday morning, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) reported Pilgrim’s production was back at 100 percent.

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The plant did reduce its output by 15 percent Wednesday because of a rise in the water temperature, said Carol Wightman, a spokesperson for Pilgrim’s owner, Entergy.

The plant’s NRC license requires the salt water Pilgrim uses be no warmer than 75 degrees. The temperature briefly topped 75.3 degrees Tuesday night.

Wightman declined to comment on what Pilgrim’s power production was for Thursday or whether the plant was close to the shutdown point, saying the plant could not give out that information in a competitive, deregulated market.

Wightman added engineers at the plant, which produces 15 percent of the state’s electricity, constantly monitor the temperature of the sea water the plant uses to cool the reactor.

The heat wave continued through the weekend, with Plymouth having highs of 95 degrees and 91 degrees on Friday and Saturday, respectively.



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