Wednesday’s storms took out all of TVA’s electric power transmission lines in Mississippi and North Alabama, and forced Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant unto diesel backup power and into emergency and automatic cold shutdown.
Bill McCollum, the chief operating officer of Tennessee Valley Authority, said it may be weeks before power can be restored to all of the 300,000 customers whose power is supplied by the federal utility.
“With the level of damage we have, it will be — we hope it will be days until we get most of the customers back on, but it will be weeks before we’ve fully repaired all of the damage,” he said.
McCollum said the reactors, now being cooled by backup diesel power, are safe.
He said the spent fuel pools also are being cooled by backup diesel power and are safe.
The transmission lines are the monster power lines that carry electricity from TVA power plants to power distributors such as EPB and Huntsville Utilities.
Now those utilities, along with a number of large industries that are wired directly to TVA transmission lines, will not have power until the lines are repaired, McCollum said.
The loss of those transmission lines also caused Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant to lose power.
When the plant generates power, it uses some of that power and the excess is sent out on the transmission lines. When those transmission lines can’t take power, it causes the reactors to trip, according to TVA officials.
Contact Pam Sohn at email@example.com or 423-757-6346.
Pam Sohn has been reporting or editing Chattanooga news for 25 years. A Walden’s Ridge native, she began her journalism career with a 10-year stint at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. She came to the Chattanooga Times Free Press in 1999 after working at the Chattanooga Times for 14 years. She has been a city editor, Sunday editor, wire editor, projects team leader and assistant lifestyle editor. As a reporter, she also has covered the police, ...