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Saturday, March 22, 2008

Entergy La. River Bend nuclear unit out unplanned

Equipment faults discovered during ramp up after a recent refueling caused the 967-megawatt Entergy Corp River Bend nuclear power reactor in Louisiana to shut on Thursday evening, a company spokesman said on Friday.

"We hope it will be a short one," said Steven Johnston of Entergy of the duration of the outage. "We will be back up as soon as possible."

Johnston declined to specify the equipment at fault.

The utility is keen to get the unit back on line. It has not strung together a streak of days at 100 percent operational capacity since it shut January 6 for a planned refueling and maintenance outage. Also, spring has arrived along the U.S. Gulf Coast and air conditioners are clicking on and demanding more power. Demand is expected to be diminished on Friday when many businesses will be shut for Good Friday.

The single-unit River Bend power plant was operating at 70 percent as of Thursday morning's U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission report. The unit had been ramping up after a regular refueling and maintenance shutdown. The refueling outage was from January 6 to March 5.

The plant is in St. Francisville, Louisiana, about 24 miles north-northwest of Baton Rouge., was ramping up following an automatic shutdown in early March.

One megawatt powers about 500 homes in Louisiana.

Entergy, of New Orleans, owns and operates about 30,000 MW of generating capacity, markets energy commodities, and transmits and distributes power to 2.6 million customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

(Source: Reuters)

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