‘Electrical Load Imbalance’ Shuts AL Reactor

Friday, August 29, 2014 @ 04:08 PM gHale

Athens, AL-based Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant’s Unit 1 reactor went offline Tuesday evening after monitoring equipment indicated an “electrical load imbalance” in the main power generator’s circuitry.

The reactor shut down at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday as a precaution, said Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) spokesman Jim Hopson. TVA operates the nuclear plant.

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Hopson said there was no problem with the reactor unit itself, but with the power generation equipment driven by the reactor.

“When you take the generator offline, you have to take the reactor offline as well,” Hopson said. If you didn’t, it would be similar to shifting your car into neutral while driving 70 mph down the highway — the engine would race without the drive train engaged, Hopson said.

“All plant equipment performed as expected and operators are currently holding Unit 1 in a safe, stable configuration,” Hopson said.

“There was no danger to the public or plant personnel,” he said. “The team is currently investigating the situation and once a cause is identified, repairs will be made and the reactor will be brought back online.”

He said Browns Ferry units 2 and 3 were not affected and continue to operate at full capacity.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is aware of the incident and is monitoring the situation.

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