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Archive for Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wolf Creek shuts down nuclear reactor after power loss

August 20, 2009, 10:47 a.m. Updated August 20, 2009, 1:51 p.m.

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— The Wolf Creek nuclear reactor is shut down after power transmission lines from the plant were hit by lightning, officials said Thursday.

The lines, which carry power produced by the plant, stopped working Wednesday after the lightning strikes. Once those lines stopped working, that in turn, started the shut down of the plant.

“The plant responded exactly as it is designed and shut down appropriately,” said Jenny Hageman, a spokesperson for the Wolf Creek Operating Corp. “All the safety systems kicked in just as they should and the operators took all the appropriate actions,” she added.

Operators were working Thursday to bring the plant back online, but there was no estimate as to how long that would take, she said.

Wolf Creek is a 1,200 megawatt nuclear plant that is located near Burlington. The plant is owned by Westar Energy, Kansas City Power & Light and the Kansas Electric Power Cooperative.

Comments

nmayhew 4 years, 8 months ago

Devobrun, Regarding your assessment of what happened, and the following statement:

"Engineers are precise, not prone to hyperbole"

I'll just say that you are unique in your ability to - in a competent manner - digest the information in the above article.

Regarding this statement:

"Since most young engineers are going into video game design, this situation is changing."

I am a young engineer and I work at Wolf Creek , so not all of us are going into video game design...it is a recent trend though...and a sad one.

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LogicMan 4 years, 8 months ago

"Has anyone else ever noticed that Wolf Creek ... can produce ... 1210 megawatts"

Yes. And if you want to cry some, the very-green Bowersock plant here in town produces something like ... 2 megawatts peak.

Or less than 0.2% of Wolf Creek's output.

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sampierron 4 years, 8 months ago

Has anyone else ever noticed that Wolf Creek, if amped up just a little bit, can produce 1.21 gigawatts (1210 megawatts)?

1 POINT 21 GIGAWATTS!

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 8 months ago

dudedog12 (Anonymous) says…

Marion, this is simple, if the plant power has no where to go because of the out going lines have been compromised, the plant has to be shutdown until there is a place for the generated power to go. It's like this , plant producing power giong out, out bound flow stops, what then ? Shut plant down , which it did automatically. No biggy…."

Marion writes:

Oh,yes; I realised that fact and you are correct but
"LiberalWiner" did not so I thought a little education was in order!

You did a good job of presenting Nuclear Power Plant Part 2!

LOL!

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devobrun 4 years, 8 months ago

nmayhew: I cannot be very correct. Neither can I be very unique.

I am either correct or incorrect. I am either one-of-a-kind, (unique) or not.

..........................Engineers are precise, not prone to hyperbole.

Politicians, movie directors, and unfortunately now many scientists are not unique, not correct, and not precise. I am glad there are grown up engineers still around. Since most young engineers are going into video game design, this situation is changing.

Fear the future.

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Steve Miller 4 years, 8 months ago

Marion, this is simple, if the plant power has no where to go because of the out going lines have been compromised, the plant has to be shutdown until there is a place for the generated power to go. It's like this , plant producing power giong out, out bound flow stops, what then ? Shut plant down , which it did automatically. No biggy....

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Marion Lynn 4 years, 8 months ago

"LiberalWiner (Anonymous) says…

So let me get this straight…. Wolf Creek is a power plant, and they had to shut down because they lost off-site power? If they make electricity, why do they rely on off-site power? Is it just me or does this make no sense at all?"

Marion writes:

The article states:

"The Wolf Creek nuclear reactor is shut down after power transmission lines "FROM" (Caps mine) the plant were hit by lightning, officials said Thursday."

Marion further writes:

I recommend a remedial reading course and soon.

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Whathefk 4 years, 8 months ago

I know the vibration was not normal.

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nmayhew 4 years, 8 months ago

devobrun-you are very correct. especially about the engineers running things :)

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devobrun 4 years, 8 months ago

"I would imagine producing power and having it build up with nowhere to go would be a problem and so the shut down procedure began. Glad it worked."

Quite right Momma. The buildup would be in the form of steam pressure. Some steam storage is possible, but not much. When the lines go down, the electrical power cannot get out. The steam is removed from the turbines so they don't spin out of control. Boiler pressure and temperature increases, and the nuclear reactions must be shut down, or the whole thing blows up.

My guess is that all systems worked and a huge rumble from a steam blow-off was heard around the plant.

Energy into the plant equals energy out of the plant. Energy in is nuclear. Energy out is electrical, heat, and noise. When the lines go down the heat and noise goes up and the nuclear input better get shut down right now.

I'm glad it worked too. But I could say that about a whole lot of other things in our technological society as well. Don't worry, engineers (not politicians or activists) are running things. You are pretty darn safe.

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GardenMomma 4 years, 8 months ago

Apparently they've updated the article as I now find no reference to outside power.

It looks like lightning struck the power lines that carry power from the plant to the public ("The lines, which carry power produced by the plant, stopped working Wednesday after the lightning strikes.") and that caused the plant to begin shut down.

I would imagine producing power and having it build up with nowhere to go would be a problem and so the shut down procedure began. Glad it worked.

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logrithmic 4 years, 8 months ago

The kneebones connected to the ankle bone.

The anklebones connected to the foot bone.

The footbones connected to the toebone.

God bless!

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nmayhew 4 years, 8 months ago

The plant tripped because it could not force all of the power normally sent out on three transmission lines through one. Think of the electrical flow as water flow through 3 "hoses" hooked up to a common water source - then two are blocked off, it must all go out one "hose". When we are talking about the amount of voltage involved here, thats a big deal. No one wants their transformers fried.

This overload caused the turbine to trip, which in turn causes the reactor to trip, shutting it down for safety reasons.

Normally electrical equipment in the plant runs off of its own electrical generation, however offsite power is necessary when power being generated by the plant is cut (i.e. when the turbine trips).

This loss of offsite power (due to lightning) caused the 2 huge (14 cylinder) diesel generators to start to provide safe shutdown power. All of these systems actuated perfectly to shut everything down.

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Shane Garrett 4 years, 8 months ago

geeze, I read it as though the transmission lines "from" the plant were hit by lightning. And, "The lines, which carry power produced by the plant, stopped working Wednesday after the lightning strikes. Once those lines stopped working, that in turn, started the shut down of the plant."

I take it that the plant cannot store energy and must transmit the energy it produces through transmission lines. Unless, they have some really large storage batteries on site.

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guantanamotony 4 years, 8 months ago

"Power to the lines that bring outside power to the plant — required for the power plant to run it's not generating systems — was down for a brief period of time, possibly relating to lightning strikes in the area Wednesday afternoon, and the plant reacted as it was designed to and shut down, said Jenny Hageman, a spokesperson for the Wolf Creek Operating Corp."

Please diagram this sentence for me Mr. Rothschild, and explain each mistake.

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Stuart Evans 4 years, 8 months ago

i think the "not generating systems" should be Non-generating systems. and I also wonder who Wester Energy is.

Editing team is doing a bang up job today.

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corey872 4 years, 8 months ago

Libby - this is really no different than a car requiring a battery to start the engine. 'grid' power 'should' be more stable than any one power plant. Plus, they need power for start up / shut down where the local reactor / generator is not producing power.

I'm not exactly sure what the line "required for the power plant to run it's not generating systems" means. I think you could just drop the 'not' or change it to 'own'.

Either way - sounds like things went as they should and the plant shut down safely.

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Scott Overfield 4 years, 8 months ago

Maybe they forgot to pay their electric bill.

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LogicMan 4 years, 8 months ago

The plant "tripped" off-line, as it should -- can't be too safe when something downstream goes wrong. And it then takes a while to check everything, and to restart the processes.

I'm sure Westar would appreciate everyone reducing their electrical use for a little while.

(Remember something similar happened at the Lawrence Energy Center = "KPL" when that worker (or two?) was unfortunately killed when a ladder or lift hit the powerlines at the plant.)

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Daniel Kennamore 4 years, 8 months ago

"So let me get this straight…. Wolf Creek is a power plant, and they had to shut down because they lost off-site power? If they make electricity, why do they rely on off-site power? Is it just me or does this make no sense at all?"

Hopefully it's just you. You honestly think that a nuclear power plant should be dependent on the power it produces to run the control room? (not to mention all the other critical operations powered on site).

Let me ask you this...how would they power those functions during refueling (when they don't produce any power at all)?

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LiberalWiner 4 years, 8 months ago

So let me get this straight.... Wolf Creek is a POWER PLANT, and they had to shut down because they lost off-site power? If they make electricity, why do they rely on off-site power? Is it just me or does this make no sense at all?

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