Plymouth: Nuclear plant briefly reduces power Wednesday due to warm sea water

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant briefly reduced its power output earlier this week, but is back at full power, after this week’s heat wave made Cape Cod Bay water too warm to use for cooling the reactor.

Carol Wightman, spokeswoman for the Plymouth plant’s owner, Entergy, said that the power plant reduced its output by 15 percent for about 90 minutes on Wednesday.

The plant’s federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission license requires that the salt water Pilgrim uses be no warmer than 75 degrees. The temperature briefly topped 75.3 degrees Tuesday.

“Pilgrim station operators are monitoring the sea water temperature very closely, and will adjust plant operations as necessary,” Wightman said Friday.

“Our operators have very specific procedures which they follow with respect to plant operations and certain plant parameters that they monitor continuously for any impact on plant operations, including sea water temperature.”

State Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan said Friday that officials were monitoring the situation at Pilgrim closely, but at the moment it did not appear to be a major concern.

If the plant were forced to shut down, Sullivan said it would make a “tight situation even tighter” for the state’s power grid as the heat wave continues. Pilgrim produces about 15 percent of the state’s electricity.

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