Comanche Peak Nuclear Plant repairs ongoing

Employees at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant near Glen Rose are "working diligently 24/7" to make the repairs necessary to bring one of the two reactors back online, a company spokesperson told the Hood County News on Thursday.

The message earlier this week from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asking Texas residents to “reduce electric use as much as possible” through Friday (June 18) due in part to “a significant number of forced generation outages” was impacted even further by what it said was “potential record electric use.”

One of the outages occurred after one of the two nuclear reactors at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant in nearby Somervell County “automatically safely shut down as designed when the main transformer (which is not part of the nuclear side of the plant) experienced a fire late in the afternoon on June 7,” according to a news release from Meranda Cohn, senior director of communications and media relations for Vistra, which owns the plant near Glen Rose.

Cohn noted, “The fire was extinguished without assistance from outside fire response.”

In the earlier news release from ERCOT, Cohn stated, ““There are two nuclear reactors at Comanche Peak that provide power to the ERCOT grid.” 

Cohn stated Thursday that there is not yet a specific timeline when the unit might be repaired and back online, adding, “We’re working diligently 24/7 to fix the transformer in order to get the unit online.”

The news release from ERCOT, in part, stated:

Please take these simple actions to help reduce electric use:

Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher – every degree of cooling increases your energy use by six to eight percent.

Turn off lights and pool pumps and avoid using large appliances like ovens, washing machines and dryers.

If you don’t need something – we are asking you to turn it off and unplug it if possible.

Generator owners have reported approximately 11,000 MW of generation is on forced outage for repairs; of that, approximately 8,000 MW is thermal and the rest is intermittent resources. According to the summer Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy, a typical range of thermal generation outages on hot summer days is around 3,600 MW. One MW typically powers around 200 homes on a summer day.

"We will be conducting a thorough analysis with generation owners to determine why so many units are out of service," said ERCOT Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson. "This is unusual for this early in the summer season."

According to generation owners, the number of outages should decrease throughout the week.