Tropical storm Jose prompts Plymouth nuclear plant to reduce power

Tropical Storm Jose has forced the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth to reduce power by more than 20 percent to curb the discharge of hot water into Cape Cod Bay.

The plant draws water from the bay to cool its reactor. But federal guidelines say that seawater can be no higher than 75 degrees, according to a plant spokesman.

Storm winds pushed water discharged from the plant into an area of the bay where the plant draws seawater.


Since the water the plant releases is considerably hotter than the seawater, the temperature of the water the plant draws is raised.

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When the water’s temperature reached 71 degrees on Wednesday, the plant reduced power to 80 percent, said the spokesman, Patrick O’Brien.

By Friday, the plant was operating at 73 percent, he said.

“Based on current storm projections, we intend to remain online at this reduced power level until ocean temperatures allow for a return to full power operation,” said O’Brien in a statement.

The 680 megawatt plant, owned by Entergy Corp., generates enough electricity to power 600,000 homes and businesses. Citing finances, Entergy announced it plans to close the plant in 2019.

Danny McDonald can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.