Pennsylvania nuclear plants operate despite floods

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 09, 2011 6:29 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - All three nuclear power plants in Pennsylvania along the Susquehanna River continued to operate at high power, plant operators said on Friday, after the river had flooded several towns in New York and Pennsylvania.

The Susquehanna River, swollen by rainfall from the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, reached record levels in Pennsylvania and submerged some towns amid worry that flood waters had been turned toxic by swamped sewage processing plants.

The nuclear operators, PPL and Exelon, said they were monitoring the river and had prepared their sites for possible flooding but did not expect high water levels to affect operations of the reactors.

PPL, which operates the 2,289-megawatt (MW) Susquehanna nuclear plant in Luzerne County about 130 miles northwest of Philadelphia, said the water had crested and was dropping by the Susquehanna plant.

Both units at Susquehanna continued to operate at full power early Friday.

Exelon, which operates one 786-MW reactor at the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near the state capital of Harrisburg and two reactors at the 2,224-MW Peach Bottom plant, said the water was already at its high point near Three Mile Island and would likely crest at Peach Bottom overnight Friday.

Three Mile Island is about 100 miles west of Philadelphia, while Peach Bottom is further down the Susquehanna River about 80 miles west of Philadelphia.

Three Mile Island Unit 1 and Peach Bottom 2 were operating at full power, while Peach Bottom 3 was running at 87 percent power Friday morning as it coasts down for a planed refueling outage this autumn.

Peach Bottom 3 could shut for refueling as early as this weekend, according to Reuters data.

(Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by David Gregorio)