Warming up

I don’t think anything I have much to add that wouldn’t be gilding this particular lily:

A reactor at the Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford, Conn., has shut down because of something that its 1960s designers never anticipated: the water in Long Island Sound was too warm to cool it.

Under the reactor’s safety rules, the cooling water can be no higher than 75 degrees. On Sunday afternoon, the water’s temperature soared to 76.7 degrees, prompting the operator, Dominion Power, to order the shutdown of the 880-megawatt reactor.

“Temperatures this summer are the warmest we’ve had since operations began here at Millstone,’’ said a spokesman for Dominion, Ken Holt. The plant’s first reactor, now retired, began operation in 1970.

The plant’s third reactor was still running on Monday, but engineers were watching temperature trends carefully out of concern that it, too, might have to shut down.

[…] The water from the sound is piped into the plant to absorb heat from pumps and other pieces of equipment. As the sound’s temperature inched upward this summer, Dominion Power received permission from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to measure it at three locations instead of one and to calculate the average in the hope that it would be lower. That did not help on Sunday.

And higher water temperatures could lie ahead. The sound’s temperature usually does not peak until late August.

Eventually, engineers could change the Millford reactor’s intake pipe so it draws water from further below the surface, where temperatures are lower, Mr. Holt said. They could also sharpen their pencils and try to determine whether the plant can operate safely with cooling water above 75 degrees, but neither is a short-term project.

Cloud cover and the mixing of some cooler rainfall might also bring down temperatures, Mr. Holt suggested.

2 Responses to Warming up

  1. Pragmatic Realist August 14, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    This song by Flanders and Swan explains it all.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cb2kBFqrZx8

  2. Pragmatic Realist August 14, 2012 at 11:39 am #

    Heat won’t go from a cooler to a hotter.

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