The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) said it made significant progress over the weekend of April 29 through 31 in restoring power lines, poles, steel transmission structures and other equipment damaged during the April 27 severe storms and tornadoes.
As of May 2, TVA had restored all but eight of the 128 connection points originally damaged that serve local power companies. TVA estimated about 152,000 homes and businesses still were without electric service. The power restoration work involved three primary steps: repairing extensively damaged transmission lines; linking generation sources; and resupplying power to the repaired lines.
About 4,000 TVA employees and contractors were working around the clock across areas of Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, where more than 675,000 customers lost electric service in storms on April 27.
A large portion of TVA’s 500 kV and 161 kV lines serving north Alabama and Mississippi were knocked out during the storms. TVA also shut down Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant and units at Widows Creek Fossil Plant, both in Alabama, because of the storms’ impact to the transmission grid. The Browns Ferry reactors, which shut down safely as designed during the storms, will be re-started when the transmission system is sufficiently repaired to transport power from the plant. The reactors remain in safe shutdown condition while repairs are under way to power lines in northern Alabama.
TVA terminated a “notification of unusual event” at the plant on May 2. Emergency response centers that had been operating at TVA’s operational center in Chattanooga and at Browns Ferry were being deactivated May 3.
Diesel generators are operating in combination with two off-site 161 kV transmission lines to provide the plant with electric power. This combination of power supplies will continue until the power lines surrounding the plant are repaired, and the diesel generators can be turned off.
Also on May 2, Reuters reported that TVA said workers were taking precautions to reduce possible flooding at two coal-fired power plants in Tennessee and Kentucky.
The news outlet said that TVA crews were preparing sandbags and inflatable coffer dams for possible use at the 1,369 MW Shawnee Fossil Plant west of Paducah, Ky., on the Ohio River, and at the 750 MW Allen Fossil Plant on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tenn.
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