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A nuclear reactor in Louisiana and it is not prepared for thunderstorms? If it cannot be protected why did they even open this nuclear reactor?
NASA lightening
NASA lightening world
Imaging Sensor (LIS) Science Team Data from space-based optical sensors reveal the uneven distribution of worldwide lightning strikes, with color variations indicating the average annual number of lightning flashes per square kilometer. The map includes data obtained from April 1995 to February 2003 from NASA’s Optical Transient Detector; and from January 1998 to February 2003 from NASA’s Lightning Imaging Sensor (LIS). CREDIT: NASA MSFC Lightning

NASA lightening Louisiana
Zoom in to Louisiana.


On 1/9/16 at 0237 [CST], River Bend Station sustained a reactor scram during a lightning storm. An electrical transient occurred resulting in a full main steam isolation [MSIV] (Group 6) and a Division II Balance of Plant isolation signal. During the scram, level 8 occurred immediately which tripped the feed pumps. A level 3 signal occurred also during the scram. Subsequent level 3 was received three times due to isolated vessel level control. The plant was stabilized and all spurious isolation signals reset, then the MSIVs were restored. The plant is now stable in Mode 3 and plant walkdowns are occurring to assess the transient.”

During the scram, all rods inserted into the core. The plant was initially cooled down using safety relief valves. Offsite power is available and the plant is in its normal shutdown electrical lineup.

The licensee has notified the NRC Resident Inspector.

This was less than one week after this serious “event”: “Potential Uncontrolled Radiation Release, Secondary Containment Declared Inoperable” so they appear to have vented it, presumably releasing radiation. Notification came 2 days too late:
10 CFR Section:
50.72(b)(3)(v)(C) – POT UNCNTRL RAD REL

“At [2258] CST, on January 5, 2016, with the plant operating at 100 percent power, the main control room alarm indicating high pressure in the auxiliary building actuated. Operators confirmed that the building pressure, corrected for temperature, indicated slightly positive, whereas the building pressure limit in Technical Specifications is 0.0 – 3.0 inches of water negative pressure. Secondary containment was declared inoperable, and the Division 2 standby gas system was started. This action restored building pressure to the acceptable range, and the building was declared operable at [0027 CST] on January 6.

“This condition is being reported in accordance with 10 CFR 50.72(b)(3)(v)(C) as an event that caused the secondary containment to be potentially incapable of performing its safety function. The NRC Senior Resident Inspector was notified.“. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2016/20160107en.html

Christmas 2014: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2014/20141229en.html

For those who, like us, doubted there was really lightening. There was probably lightening, even though it is winter:
NWS thunderstorm Louisiana jan 8 9 2016

About lightening: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2004/0621lightning_prt.htm

Many thanks to Flying Cuttlefish of the Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle for event notification: https://lasinkhole.Wordpress.com/2016/01/11/scram/

For this and other timely nuclear and non-nuclear hazard coverage and more, see: https://tlarremore.wordpress.com/2016/01/11/nuclear-event-automatic-reactor-shutdown-river-bend-station-unit-1-st-francisville-louisiana/