When a series of strong tornadoes swept through the Tennessee Valley in late April, the Browns Ferry nuclear energy facility was ready for nature’s challenge. Dozens of tornadoes, including four EF5 storms—the strongest on the scale used by the National Weather Service—battered the Southeast and the Tennessee Valley Authority’s transmission system, severing power lines to Browns Ferry.
The tornadoes destroyed 353 of TVA’s transmission poles and towers and took out 108 power lines, including the seven transmission lines that serve as the Athens, Ala., site’s primary source of power.
When all but one power line to the plant went out of service, operators guided the safe shutdown of the facility’s three reactors. Seven emergency diesel generators provided power to safety systems that kept the reactor fuel cores cooled.
Read More »