Entergy declares cold war on Waterford during summer

June 04, 2010 at 9:07 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Residents around the parish aren’t the only ones who feel the heat of those hot summer months. The higher temperatures also mean Entergy and employees of Waterford 3 must enact a Summer Reliability Plan that includes installing temporary air conditioning units to cool sensitive equipment and using divers to clean the intake structure on the Mississippi River.

“We have an extensive list of more than 80 actions deliberately timed to assure optimal plant performance during the summer period,” said Tony Corley, unit reliability coordinator at Waterford 3. “Through these actions, we’re assuring reliability and stabilizing costs for Louisiana residents.”

With the high electrical demand that the summer causes, operating margins for grid stability are reduced and the market price for electricity rises sharply. Baseload generation, which is the minimum amount of power that a utility company must make available to its customers, needs to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to protect the health of the transmission system that delivers power to the local and regional economy.

The Summer Reliability Plan defines the actions, owners, and due dates needed to ensure that plant reliability is optimized. The plan builds off of the lessons learned from previous summers and is flexible to address specific conditions that employees face.

Actions taken include installing temporary air conditioning units to cool sensitive equipment, using divers to clean the intake structure on the Mississippi River and having plant engineers, operators and maintenance technicians perform inspections to identify potential summer threats.

The unit’s reliability team closely tracks all work required by the plan for summer preparation.

“Our plan is a living document that is updated to add new items, as necessary,” Waterford 3 Site Vice President Joe Kowalewski said. “We use lessons from our fleet of nuclear plants and lessons learned from the previous summer.

“Summer preparations are really an extension of what we do everyday. It’s a special focus during a critical time of year.”

Summertime also coincides with hurricane season, and throughout Entergy, employees are making necessary preparations for the possibility of a storm impacting the area. Entergy closely tracks all tropical activity, especially when a storm enters the Gulf of Mexico.

Throughout Entergy, employees review plans and teams drill in preparation for a storm impacting the company’s service territory.

Waterford 3 was designed and built to withstand natural disasters including hurricanes. The containment building is made of thick steel and reinforced concrete.

“The plant is a hardened facility, designed to handle weather emergencies while protecting employees and the community,” said Kowalewski.

Employees work hand-in-hand with local officials and other industries to review emergency plans including site personnel duty assignments and the safest way to quickly bring Waterford 3 back online following a weather event. 

Waterford remains staffed throughout weather-related emergencies and serves as a cornerstone for restoration activities both in power generation and as a base camp for crews working to restore the distribution and transmission system.

View other articles written Jonathan Menard

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