The Tennessee Valley Authority's biggest nuclear power plant was forced to reduce power generation this week when a lighting strike cut power to the plant's seven cooling towers and temporarily limited the ability to cool the heated water in the plant's condensers.
TVA Nuclear Chief Tim Rausch said today the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant is back to full power generation, but two of the reactors were cut to 50% power and the other was reduced to 90% power after the lightning strike Monday night cut off operation of some of the cooling towers at the plant near Athens, Alabama. Rausch said he unaware if such an incident had ever previously occurred at the plant, which has been in operation since 1967.
TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said the "freak accident" cut power to the cooling towers, which in turn required TVA to scale back operation of its Browns Ferry reactors during some of the hottest days of the summer for part of Monday and Tuesday. Hopson said reactor safety was not compromised by the incident and it was not a reportable event to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Power has since been restored to all of the cooling towers and the reactors are operating at full power.
Earlier this summer, TVA completed its $475 million uprate of the three reactors at Browns Ferry, which boosts the power output of the plant by another 465 megawatts.
With 3.4 megawatts of generation capacity, Browns Ferry is the nation's second biggest nuclear power plant.