Irene Shuts Down Nuclear Plants, Refinery; 6 Million Without Power
As of 3.00 pm EDT yesterday, the hurricane had left at least 5,946,246 electricity outages on the East Coast. The proportion of people without power at that time varied from six percent in Vermont to 36 percent in Maryland, 41 percent in Connecticut and 46 percent in Rhode Island.
The hurricane shut down at least one oil refinery, the ConocoPhilips plant in Linden, N.J., and three refineries were operating at normal or slightly reduced rates.
On Saturday two nuclear power plants either stopped working or were intentionally shut down. Maryland’s Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 tripped when a large piece of siding blew off the building and hit a main transformer. The facility’s second unit was stable and operating at 100 percent power. The Oyster Creek Nuclear Power Plant in New Jersey performed a voluntary controlled shut down late on Saturday.
Four of the six energy pipelines in Irene’s path were operating at a reduced capacity as of yesterday. The U.S. Coast Guard has shut all coastal and inland ports from Virginia up to Pennsylvania, and in Long Island Sound.
In Vermont waters started to recede today after the worst flooding the state has seen in 75 years. Over 250 roads were closed and several bridges washed away, while people filled about two dozen emergency shelters, the New York Times reported.
The massive clean-up operation begins today where weather permits, but many utility companies are expecting repairs to take a number of days and are advising customers to prepare for more power outages.
Picture credit: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC
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