This Atlantic hurricane season, which hit its peak between August and October, has already seen 13 named storms - more than typically seen - according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. As many have experienced recently, high winds, flooding and other impacts that come with a hurricane can be devastating, and our electric grid is not immune.
We are fortunate, though, in the southeastern U.S. to have energy sources that are built to withstand the incredible forces of natural disasters like hurricanes: nuclear power plants.
As our only always-on power source that is carbon-free, it is especially important to have nuclear energy as part of a diverse energy mix during extreme weather events. In events like a hurricane, weather-resistant power sources like nuclear are even more important.
During Hurricane Irma, all nuclear plants within the storm’s path sustained no damage. Additionally, a Texas nuclear plant continued to run during Hurricane Harvey while implementing severe weather protocols.
America’s nuclear energy facilities are designed and built to safely withstand a wide variety of natural and other severe events, and are staffed by highly trained, federally licensed operators with decades of safe operations.
Here are a few ways nuclear sites prepare for extreme weather:
- In the days leading up to the storm, items that could potentially be blown away or become airborne are secured.
A visual inspection of the site is conducted to ensure water and wind will not affect important equipment.
Emergency equipment, such as mobile pumps and backup generators, are checked to ensure operability.
Critical supplies are checked and stocked, including assuring there is enough food and water on site to sustain workers in the event they have to stay on-site for many days.
Nuclear sites reach out to local and federal emergency preparedness stakeholders in the days leading up to the storm to ensure understanding of the actions underway.
Even when there is damage to the electrical grid, nuclear energy is there to generate electricity for emergency operations, first responders and hospitals as soon as they are able to receive power.
Nuclear energy – 24/7, clean and reliable for our customers and communities, and designed to weather storms.