Nuclear energy

 browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant, United States

 browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant, United States

The Browns Ferry nuclear power plant (born as a Browns Ferry nuclear plant) is a functioning nuclear power plant in the southeastern United States.

The station is located on the shores of Lake Wheeler in the Tennessee River Basin in Limestone County, Alabama, 35 miles west of the city of Huntsville.

Unit 1 of the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant

Unit 1 is a 1101 megawatt electric BWR / 4 network built by General Electric. Construction began in Unit 1 on September 12, 1966 and was originally started online on December 20, 1973. It was authorized to operate until December 20, 2013. However, Unit 1 was closed for one year after of a fire In 1975 it damaged the unit. The unit was later repaired and operated from 1976 until March 3, 1985, when the three Browns Ferry units were closed due to operational and management problems.

As of 2002, TVA made an effort to restore the operational status of Unit 1. The NRC approved the restart of Unit 1 on May 15, 2007 and the nuclear reactor became critical on May 22.

During the initial tests after the restart, on May 24, 2007, a leaking hydraulic control tube in the turbine room exploded, spilling about 600 US gallons (2,300 l; 500 gallons imp.) Of non-radioactivefluid, and the newly re-started nuclear reactor was temporarily shut down.

The ignition and reactor tests were resumed on May 27 and the unit began supplying power to the electricity supply network on June 2, 2007, reaching full power on June 8. It is estimated that the restart of the Browns ferry will be paid only in five years.

On May 4, 2006, NRC issued a renewed license, adding twenty years to operate until December 20, 2033.

Unit 1 generated 9,801 GWh of electricity in 2017, reaching a capacity factor of 101.62%.

Unit 2 the Browns Ferry Nuclear Facility

Unit 2 is a 1104 megawatt electric BWR / 4 constructed by General Electric that was originally launched online on August 2, 1974 and is licensed to operate until June 28, 2034. Unit 2 generated 8,396 GWh of electricity in 2017, achieving a capacity factor of 86.81%.

During a drought in August 2007, Unit 2 closed for a day because the water temperature in the Tennessee River rose too high for the water to be used for cooling and then discharged back into the river.

As of 2005, Unit 2 was loaded with BLEU (combined enriched uranium) recovered by the DOE from the weapons programs. This fuel contains amounts of U-236 and other pollutants because it was made from reprocessed fuel from reactors of weapons programs and, therefore, has slightly different characteristics when used in a reactor compared to uranium fuel. cool. By using this fuel, which would otherwise have been disposed of as waste, TVA is saving millions of dollars in fuel costs and accumulating a database of reactions of recycled uranium in the use of LWR.

Unit 3 of the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant

Unit 3 is a 1105 MW BWR / 4 net constructed by General Electric that was originally launched online on August 18, 1976 and is licensed to operate until July 2, 2036. Unit 3 generated 9651 GWh in 2017, with a capacity factor of 99.70%

The 1975 Fire at the Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant

On March 22, 1975, a fire broke out in the station, creating a serious threat of losing control over the reactors of both units.

Shortly before the incident in the PNP, work was done to find and eliminate air leaks between the rooms, some of which remained a rarity during the operation of the station. The main source of these leaks was the passage through the walls of the electric cables. When working in one of the cable rooms, an employee of the station used the flame of a small candle to determine more precisely the escape area. This practice was widespread and, up to this point, had no consequences. This time, however, a sheet of insulating material used to seal the openings was burned with the flame of the candle, and then the fire spread to the insulation of the wires.

The fire could not manage for about seven hours using gunpowder fire extinguishers and a stationary fire suppression system with carbon dioxide. The cables were alive and the water was not used due to the risk of a short circuit. De-energizing the station also threatened to lose control over the status of the reactors. Only when it was possible to establish its stable cooling, the extinguishing of the fire with water was allowed and the fire was eliminated relatively quickly.

Since the beginning of the fire, the operators faced a malfunction of the equipment. Although the reactors were shut down immediately, a prolonged removal of heat caused by the release of residual energy from the nuclear fuel was required. Due to cable damage, high-pressure pumps and pipeline valve control systems lost power. Fortunately, the remaining equipment in working conditions was sufficient to quickly release the pressure in the reactors and organize the supply of water to the core from low pressure pumps.

The damage caused by the fire was estimated at $ 10 million, and in addition to this amount, it was necessary to spend 10 million each month to replace electricity to consumers due to inactive power units. Again, the station was launched only one year later.

The Browns-Ferry case showed the need for a review of fire safety measures, and also noted the inadmissibility of design solutions where a fire in a separate room affects the vital safety functions of nuclear power plants .

Reactor typeBoiling Water Nuclear Reactor (BWR)
Reactor modelBWR-4 (Mark 1)
Grid connection1973-10-15
OwnerTennessee Valley Authority
OperatorTennessee Valley Authority
CountryUnited States
ZoneDecatur, Alabama

Published: January 6, 2013
Last review: November 15, 2018

Nuclear power plants in United States