Equipment around a nuclear reactor in Maryland was damaged by wind and others were taken offline as a precaution after Hurricane Irene blew through the East Coast on Sunday. According to the Guardian, Constellation Energy’s Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant in Lusby, Maryland went into automatic shutdown on Sunday when a piece of aluminum siding was ripped off a nearby building and damaged a transformer. The damage was declared an “unusual event,” the lowest of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s emergency classifications. A second reactor at the plant was still operating and no power outages were expected.
As Hurricane Irene raged up the East Coast on Saturday and Sunday, a total of 14 nuclear power plants stood in its path. In New Jersey, a reactor at Exelon’s Oyster Creek Generating Station was taken offline before the storm hit, as a precaution. In addition to the reactor shutdowns in Maryland and New Jersey, several other plants were also operating at reduced power as a precautionary measure, but no other damage has been reported. According to a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, safety inspections could keep the Calvert Cliffs plant offline for a few more days.
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