Comanche Peak nuclear power plant unit back online after nearly two weeks

Marin Wolf
Dallas Morning News

The Comanche Peak nuclear power plant’s second unit is back online after being down for nearly two weeks because of a fire in the main transformer.

Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant near Glen Rose.

Unit 2 was restarted at 10:30 p.m. Friday and returned to full power by 9:30 a.m. Saturday, said Victor Dricks, senior public affairs officer for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Unit 1 has remained at full capacity.

The plant, owned by Irving-based Vistra Corp. and located 60 miles southwest of Dallas, near Glen Rose, can put out 2.3 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 1.15 million homes during normal conditions. Each unit can produce 1,150 megawatts when operating at full capacity.

“Comanche Peak worked quickly and diligently to get the unit back up and running,” said Meranda Cohn, senior director of communications and media relations for Vistra.

Comanche Peak’s downed unit, one of two at the plant, coincided with a call last week from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas to conserve energy because of increased pressure on the state’s electric grid. Forced outages, like the one at Comanche Peak, and high electricity demand contributed to the weeklong conservation request.

ERCOT reported forced outages of about 12,000 megawatts at generating plants on June 14, the first day of the conservation notice. About 9,000 of those megawatts came from thermal power sources fueled by natural gas, coal or nuclear power.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Cohn said.

It began around 3:30 p.m. on June 7 and was extinguished within 20 minutes. There were no major injuries associated with the fire.

Plant operators were able to replace the damaged part of the transformer, which is located outside of the buildings that house the pressurized water reactors.