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NRC monitoring US nuclear power plants in projected path of Hurricane Laura

Washington — US Nuclear Regulatory Commission resident inspectors stationed at nuclear power plants in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas are monitoring preparations by utility operators for Hurricane Laura, NRC said in an Aug. 26 post on its Facebook page.

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"[P]lans are in place to dispatch additional staff to any of the sites if needed," NRC said.

"Current projections show Hurricane Laura making landfall almost on the Texas/Louisiana border, as either a Category 3 or 4 hurricane tonight," the agency said.

That is almost directly between Entergy's 1,222-MW Waterford plant in Killona, Louisiana, and STP Nuclear Operating Co.'s 2,624-MW South Texas Project plant in Bay City, Texas, NRC said.

"The storm is not expected to have a significant impact on either site," the agency said

NRC spokesman Scott Burnell said Aug. 24 that every nuclear plant site has its own severe weather-related operational criteria.

"Many plants include ... consideration of plant shutdown 24 hours before [the] onset of hurricane-force winds," Burnell said.

NRC is also monitoring "several other plants that could be impacted by heavy rain," the Facebook post said.

They include Entergy's 992-MW River Bend plant in St. Francisville, Louisiana, 1,498-MW Grand Gulf in Port Gibson, Mississippi, and 1,968-MW Arkansas Nuclear One in Russellville, Arkansas. Grand Gulf is currently shut for repairs.

Entergy spokesman Mike Bowling said Aug. 26 that Entergy's nuclear plants "continue to function normally, with no immediate threats to operations."

Operators are conducting walk-downs, verifying communications systems, and securing any loose equipment that could be blown away by high winds, he said.

"We continue to monitor the storms in conjunction with local, state, and federal authorities, to ensure our response team members have safe access routes to the plants," Bowling said.