TVA Shuts Down Nuclear Reactor

Browns Ferry Nuclear Power Plant

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- One reactor at a north Alabama nuclear plant remains off line today and two others are operating at reduced power because of the record-breaking heat wave.

One scientist says the situation is a result of global warming.

TVA shut down the Unit 2 reactor at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant and scaled back operations 25 percent at the plant's other two reactors because of overheated water in the Tennessee River, which is used to cool the plant.

Industry watchdog David Lochbaum, a former Browns Ferry engineer now with the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, said the shutdown highlights a problem for nuclear power. He called it an unforeseen impact of global warming.

Ken Clark, a spokesman with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in Atlanta, said such shutdowns were rare but had occurred elsewhere.

As air temperatures soared to 105 degrees in north Alabama yesterday afternoon, TVA said the average temperature of the river water pumped into Browns Ferry for use in cooling systems exceeded 90 degrees, the maximum allowed by the plant's design.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)