South Texas Project Reactors Power Through Hurricane Harvey

It is safe to say that solar panel installations in the path of Hurricane Harvey are finding it impossible or nearly so to generate electricity this week in south Texas.

STPIt is also safe to say that wind turbines in the area are not faring so well, either. According to the online news source North American Wind Power, one large installation in the path of the storm sent all 39 workers home as the hurricane closed in, but operated remotely until the wind hit 55 mph. It was then shut down. Others were challenged by the “intermittency of wind” said a knowledgeable source.

Many wind farms shut down automatically when the wind surges to extreme conditions, the article said.

But two reactors at the South Texas Project, 90  miles southwest of Houston, kept churning out power despite the conditions outside, Reuters reported.

The reactors kept operating despite the storm with wind gusts that peaked at 130 mph.

A plant spokesman Buddy Eller said the plant was not hit by sustained winds of great strength, but he said the plant was equipped with beds for 250 staff members, so they could ride out the storm and stay safe at the plant. "We are going to do what's right from a safety standpoint," he said.

While the storm raged, multiple watchdog groups called for a shut down of the plant, fearing the storm would threaten safety. A Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) spokesman, Scott Burnell, said in an email that the plant owned by NRG Energy Inc. (44 percent), CPS Energy (40 percent) and Austin Energy (16 percent) "[has] been operating safely throughout Harvey and continue to do so.” NRC personnel were on site at the plant throughout the week, the agency said.

Anonymous comments will be moderated. Join for free and post now! 

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    This should be widely published as part of the Nuclear Promise.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Nice to see Nuclear shine bright!    

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Another example of electicity generation from a facility which has no need for external inputs to complete it's mission to provide a reliable power source during all times of need.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Good job!  The result of good preparations by a good staff!

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Nuclear Energy!!!!

  • good job guys.  Wouldn't expect anything less.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Glad to see that the facility only received less than one-third of the rain totals coming out of other parts of the state.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Good commentary on the resilience of nuclear plants during severe conditions . . .

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    On line all the time with zero carbon emissions

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Great!  Now Texas should pursue thorium molten salt reactors, and export those worldwide...

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    The company said earlier that when winds reach 73 or 74 MPH, the STP has to shut down the reactors. With gusts admittedly up to 130 mph as you report, do you think the risk taking was a good idea?

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    I've worked at the South test South Texas Project for years and they are some of the best people I've ever worked with that plan is safe and I hope to go back out there again I left my camper here and when I went to Indiana to go to work at GM it kind of got tore up a little bit but my insurance should cover it I was glad to be back here in Texas God blessed Texas and my prayers go out to all the families that lost members two kind of heartbreaking come back home

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Yes I've worked at South Texas Project for years new construction and shut Downs and it has some of the safest protocols and safest people I've ever worked with so I have no doubts that everything went well and I'm looking forward to go back to work there on units 3 & 4

  • So reminiscent of my Thanksgiving prayer  "And Lord, we're especially thankful for nuclear power, the cleanest safest energy source there is. Except for solar, which is just a pipe dream....."