Nuclear Reactor in NY Shutdown Due to ‘Poop-Related Outage’
Nuclear reactor! The two most feared words in the English language. One would believe that proper security measures would be taken to ensure the safety and security of such reactors.
But in New York, the safety of a nuclear reactor was compromised because apparently a bird got the ‘nature’s call’.
An errant bird dropping was the likely cause of a temporary shutdown, of part of the Indian Point nuclear plant outside New York City, the operator has concluded.
A report by Entergy, the site operator, pointed the finger at a bird “streamer” as the cause of the shutdown, which tripped a safety breaker and took a reactor at the site out of commission for three days from December 14.
There was no radiation leak as a result of the accident and at no time was public health and safety in jeopardy, the report to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission noted. While, more commonly, the buildup of guano on the lines hampers operating efficiency, in this case, the report said that it had caused an electrical arc between wires at a transmission tower.
If a streamer contacts an energised conductor, the current can travel up the stream of poop back to the bird or its perch, resulting in “bird electrocution, power outage, and/or line trip,” CNN quoted the report as saying.
The document reported that no bird carcasses were found in the vicinity of the transmission tower. Additional anti-avian security will be put in place to minimise the chances of another poop-related outage.
Additionally, bird guards will be installed on Entergy-owned 345 kV and 138 kV Transmission Towers to preclude the effects of bird streaming, the report said.