Bird droppings apparently caused NY nuclear reactor outage

March 3, 2016 by Michael Virtanen

Bird droppings were the likely cause of a December shutdown at a nuclear power plant outside New York City, according to the operator.

An Indian Point reactor safely shut down for three days starting Dec. 14 following an electrical disturbance on outdoor high voltage transmission lines, Entergy Corp. said. An outside expert is analyzing whether what's technically called bird "streaming" was the culprit.

In a report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission last month, the New Orleans-based company said the automatic reactor shutdown was apparently from bird feces that caused an electric arc between wires on a feeder line at a transmission tower.

"If it has nowhere to send its electricity, the generator senses that and automatically shuts down," Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said.

Plant managers told the NRC they were revising preventive maintenance for additional inspection and cleaning and installing bird guards on .

Nappi said he couldn't recall a similar incident in the past several years from at Indian Point, which is located along the Hudson River north of New York City. He didn't immediately know whether a carcass was found nearby or what type of bird was suspected.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Eliot Brenner said it's not uncommon for wildlife to trigger electrical outages on transmission lines regardless of the generation source of the electricity. "Squirrels are the biggest offenders," he said.

He didn't know if the NRC was specifically tracking animal-related reactor outages. "They're kind of few and far between, but they're not uncommon," he said.

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3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 03, 2016
Looks like we could use more windmills, eh willie?
5 / 5 (2) Mar 03, 2016
Hmmmm.....and it was the wrong kind of kitty litter at Los Alamos?
3.4 / 5 (5) Mar 03, 2016
Lol both sad ecological disasters have to do with environmental correctness. The wrong kitty litter was the eco friendly kind...which really honestly doesn't make any sense whatsoever considering it is being stored with the nuclear waste which will remain sealed for the next hundred thousand or so years... and please remember that wind turbines kill more birds and wildlife than any other type of energy source. In fact it killed so many eagles the president had to grant wind turbines immunity from killing eagles because it kills hundreds per year. Other electric company's have to pay thousands of dollars to the gov for killing eagles but not wind. Its sad that people don't understand that nuclear is the safest industry not just for the environment but the workers who work at the plants.
3 / 5 (4) Mar 03, 2016
Looks like we could use more windmills
Windmills avoid the birds' poop by ecologically friendly slaughtering them in midair or also by inducing their air sacs to explode in function of pressure difference.

1 / 5 (4) Mar 04, 2016
Here we go:

And here:

Mutations, Willie. Like in Chernobyl Children, the ones who survived.

Birds or babies, Willie? Which ones do you want sacrificed for power?
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 04, 2016
If at least a small portion of what is said by fear-mongers were true, all of us would already be dead by mutant Godzilla.
3 / 5 (2) Mar 07, 2016
It's just one of those examples that show: We want to engineer 100% safe systems. But no matter how careful you design something (even if you have an infinite budget and an infinite timeline to get things done - which you never have) you will never be able to think about every eventuality.

The more complex you make a system the easier you get blindsided by really simple things.

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