A problem with a Wisconsin nuclear plant’s turbine force officials to shut down one of the state’s three nuclear reactors last Wednesday night.
The problem occurred shortly before 9 p.m., according to a report plant operator NextEra Energy Services filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
The problem took place on the non-nuclear side of the plant and did not pose any safety risks, the company said. NextEra told the NRC it shut down the reactor and all safety-related equipment that works to cool the nuclear reactor operated without problems.
The cause of the problem is under investigation, said Sara Cassidy, spokesman for NextEra.
“We’ll get it back up as soon as we find out what the issue is and get it safely returned to service,” she said.
The reactor is offline during what should be the hottest day of the year, but the problem did not affect the other reactor at Point Beach, which is running at full power. The nearby Kewaunee power plant is also running at full power, the NRC said.
“The safety equipment functioned as we expected it to during the shutdown,” said Viktoria Mitlyng, spokeswoman for the NRC’s regional office near Chicago. “Our senior resident inspector was at the plant until midnight making sure things were functioning as they were supposed to with the safety equipment.”
A recent report from the state Public Service Commission (PSC) found Wisconsin has more than enough power to meet its needs this summer, after a wave of natural gas and coal-fired power plants built since the state experienced power shortages in the late 1990s.
The report found Wisconsin has 20% more power supply available than would be needed on the day of the year when electricity demand is highest, according to the PSC. Meanwhile, a separate report this spring projected the entire Midwest would have ample power supply on hand to withstand the extra power demand that occurs during extended heat waves.