NRC: 'Bama nuke plant shut down safely

April 28, 2011 at 5:03 PM

WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) -- An Alabama nuclear power plant shut down safely when storms knocked out power to the facility, the head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Thursday.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko said at a briefing in Washington that the three units at the Browns Ferry nuclear plant in northern Alabama shut down as designed Wednesday night and were in a "cooled-down condition" Thursday.

"Spent fuel pool cooling is currently in service," Jaczko said in a written statement. "The plants' conditions are stable and are being placed in a cooled-down condition."

Jaczko said emergency diesel generators were switched on when the power lines feeding electricity to Brown's Ferry were knocked out during the ferocious storms. Although the Brown's Ferry plant near Athens, Ala., can generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity, it relies on outside supplies of AC power to run the plant's machinery, as do most nuclear facilities.

The NRC had coincidentally scheduled Thursday's conference to discuss procedures for dealing with a sudden loss of external power in light of the emergency at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

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