Powerplant Curtailments

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Water temperatures and water availability can affect the reliable operations of power plants in the United States. This site provides an overview of historical incidents where water resources have affected power plant operations in a publicly available and open access database that contains consolidated information about water-related power plant curtailment and shut down incidents.

Power plants can be affected by water resources if incoming water temperatures are too high, water discharge temperatures are too high, or if there is not enough water available to operate. Power plant impacts from water resources include curtailment of generation, plant shut downs, and requests for regulatory variances. In addition, many power plants have developed adaptation approaches to reducing the potential risks of water-related issues by investing in new technologies or developing and implementing plans to undertake during droughts or heatwaves.

This site identifies incidents of water-related power plant issues from 2000 to the present day, drawing from a variety of different datasets. Further details about these incidents can be found in the report, “Water-related power plant curtailments: An overview of incidents and contributing factors.”

This map below shows a pin for each curtailment, click on the pins to get more information.

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This table contains detailed data on each of the curtailments. Columns can also be sorted as needed.

  Sector Reason Date Resolution Detail Opened Cooling System Weather Event Source Coordinates
Curtailment: Braidwood Generation Station Nuclear Discharge Water Temperature 1 July 2012 Variance Variance offered to operate at 102 °F outlet 1986 Cooling Pond Drought, heat wave https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/main.jsp?AccessionNumber=ML092040381 41.25°, -88.23°
Curtailment: Yates Coal Curtailment 1 August 2000 Inadequate Water Intake Volume 1974 Recirculating Drought http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/energy-and-water-use/coal-plants-water-use-risks.html 33.4653°, -84.9061°
Curtailment:Browns Ferry-2008 Nuclear Discharge Water Temperature 5 August 2008 Shutdown Reduced output by 50% 1977 Once-Through Drought http://www3.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=29&RecNum=10364 34.7042°, -87.1189°
Curtailment:Browns Ferry-2010 Nuclear Discharge Water Temperature 1 August 2010 Curtailment Reduced output by 50% 1977 Once-Through Heat wave http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/energy-and-water-use/power-and-water-at-risk.html#.V4fMG64htA9 34.7042°, -87.1189°
Curtailment:Browns Ferry-2011 Nuclear Discharge Water Temperature 1 August 2011 Curtailment Reduced output by 50% 1977 Once-Through Heat wave http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML0522/ML052200481.pdf 34.7042°, -87.1189°
Curtailment:Coal Creek Coal Inadequate Water Intake Volume 26 March 9 Shutdown Army Core of Engineers had to shut off water releases at dam to reduce pressure from ice build up 1979 Recirculating Cold snap http://bismarcktribune.com/news/local/plants-along-the-river-shut-down/article_5e4b5540-2862-5aaa-9cf9-546866395419.html 47.377743°, -101.157058°
Curtailment:Cumberland-2008 Coal Discharge Water Temperature 1 January 2008 Other Built extra cooling towers 1973 Once-Through Heat wave http://ussdams.com/proceedings/2009Proc/1517-1532.pdf 36.3936°, -87.6539°
Curtailment:Cumberland-2012 Coal Discharge Water Temperature 1 January 2012 Curtailment 1973 Once-Through Heat wave http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/energy-and-water-use/water-smart-power.html#.V4fNPa4htA9 36.3936°, -87.6539°
Curtailment:Donald C. Cook Nuclear Air Temperature too warm inside containment building 30 July 6 Shutdown Heat wave caused temperature greater than 120 °F inside containment building 1975 Once-through Heat Wave https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120815/nuclear-power-plants-energy-nrc-drought-weather-heat-water 41.975604°, -86.565206°
Curtailment:Dresden Generating Station Nuclear I/D Water Temperature 29 July 2006 Curtailment Reduced output 1973 Cooling Pond Drought, heat wave http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/energy-and-water-use/water-smart-power.html#.V4fNPa4htA9 41.39°, -88.27°
Curtailment:Duane Arnold Energy Center Nuclear Inadequate Water Intake Volume 9 August 2012 Curtailment Dregded river downstream 1974 Recirculating Heat wave http://www.prairiestateoutdoors.com/pso/article/dead_fish_did_not_cause_powerton_shutdown 42.1011°, -91.7781°
Curtailment:E D Edwards Coal Discharge Water Temperature At Risk 1960 Once-Through http://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1531/ML15314A515.pdf 40.6611°, -89.6636°
Curtailment:Edwin I Hatch Nuclear Intake Water Temperature N/A 1975 Recirculating http://www3.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=29&RecNum=10364 31.9342°, -82.3447°
Curtailment:G G Allen Coal Discharge Water Temperature 12 August 2007 Curtailment 1957 Once-Through Drought, heat wave http://www.eenews.net/stories/1060002129 35.1897°, -81.0122°
Curtailment:Gallatin Coal Discharge Water Temperature 1 January 2008 Curtailment Reduced output 3% 1959 None Heat wave https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120815/nuclear-power-plants-energy-nrc-drought-weather-heat-water?page=show 36.3156°, -86.4006°
Curtailment:Gallatin 2012 Coal Discharge Water Temperature 1 July 2012 Curtailment 1959 Once-Through Heat wave http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/energy-and-water-use/water-smart-power.html 36.3156°, -86.4006°
Curtailment:Hammond Coal Discharge Water Temperature 1 January 2007 Other Utilized portable cooling towers to discharge 1954 Once-Through Heat wave https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120815/nuclear-power-plants-energy-nrc-drought-weather-heat-water?page=show 34.2497°, -85.3447°
Curtailment:Harllee Branch Coal Discharge Water Temperature Other Built extra cooling towers 1969 Once-Through http://www.ogj.com/articles/2000/08/drought-in-us-southeast-provokes-power-plant-cutbacks.html 33.2333°, -83.3147°
Curtailment:Joliet 29 Coal Discharge Water Temperature 12 July 2012 Variance IL EPA granted variance to NPDES to discharge at high temperature 1965 Once-Through https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/main.jsp?AccessionNumber=ML102371289 41.4956°, -88.1317°
Curtailment:Joliet 9 Coal Discharge Water Temperature 1 July 2012 Variance IL EPA granted variance to NPDES to discharge at high temperature 1959 Once-Through https://www.wiseinternational.org/node/4149 41.4922°, -88.1103°
Curtailment:LaSalle Generating Station Nuclear I/D Water Temperature 1 January 2001 Other Developed Extreme Heat Implementation Plan 1984 Cooling Pond http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/13/heat-shuts-down-a-coastal-reactor/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=2 41.25°, -88.66°
Curtailment:LaSalle Generating Station-2002 Nuclear I/D Water Temperature 1 January 2002 Other Followed Extreme Heat Implementation Plan 1984 Cooling Pond https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120815/nuclear-power-plants-energy-nrc-drought-weather-heat-water?page=show 41.25°, -88.66°
Curtailment:LaSalle Generating Station-2005 Nuclear I/D Water Temperature 1 January 2005 Other Followed Extreme Heat Implementation Plan 1984 Cooling Pond http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/news/story/2010/aug/23/hot-river-forces-costly-cutback-tva/27261/ 41.25°, -88.66°
Curtailment:LaSalle Generating Station-2009 Nuclear I/D Water Temperature 1 January 2009 Other Followed Extreme Heat Implementation Plan 1984 Cooling Pond http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/energy-and-water-use/water-smart-power.html#.V2g-KnovZR8 41.25°, -88.66°
Curtailment:LaSalle Generating Station-2010 Nuclear I/D Water Temperature 12 August 2010 Other Followed Extreme Heat Implementation Plan 1984 Cooling Pond https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/main.jsp?AccessionNumber=ML012330070 41.25°, -88.66°
Curtailment:Laramie River Station Coal Inadequate Water Intake Volume Other Changed to irrigation district water 1981 Recirculating Drought http://blog.ucsusa.org/steve-clemmer/state-utility-regulators-share-concern-for-energy-water-collisions-193?_ga=1.239891395.1750629502.1463505880 42.1264°, -104.9242°
Curtailment:Leland Olds Coal Inadequate Water Intake Volume 26 March 9 Shutdown Army Core of Engineers had to shut off water releases at dam to reduce pressure from ice build up 1966 Once-through Cold snap http://bismarcktribune.com/news/local/plants-along-the-river-shut-down/article_5e4b5540-2862-5aaa-9cf9-546866395419.html 47.280769°, -101.321213°
Curtailment:Limerick Nuclear Intake Water Temperature 1 January 2010 Curtailment Power output derated 1986 Recirculating Heat wave http://www.thegazette.com/2012/08/09/palo-nuclear-plant-operator-eyeing-cedar-river-levels-cautiously 40.2203°, -75.5894°
Curtailment:Martin Lake Coal Inadequate Water Intake Volume NA 1977 Cooling Pond http://www.nj.gov/dep/barnegatbay/plan-oystercreek.htm 32.2606°, -94.5706°
Curtailment:Millstone Nuclear Intake Water Temperature 14 August 2012 Shutdown Had to shut down one of two reactors, requested future variance 1975 Once-Through Drought, heat wave https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120815/nuclear-power-plants-energy-nrc-drought-weather-heat-water?page=show 41.3358°, -72.1472°
Curtailment:Monticello Nuclear Discharge Water Temperature 29 July 2006 Curtailment Power output derated 1971 Recirculating Heat wave http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/energy-and-water-use/coal-plants-water-use-risks.html#.V7tt7q4htA9 33.0917°, -95.0417°
Curtailment:Oyster Creek Nuclear Discharge Water Temperature 9 December 2010 Shutdown Best available technology for limiting environmental impacts is plant shutdown in 2019 1954 Once-Through Regulatory https://adamswebsearch2.nrc.gov/webSearch2/main.jsp?AccessionNumber=ML15023A459 39.8464°, -74.2103°
Curtailment:PSEG Hope Creek Generating Station Nuclear Intake Water Temperature 1 January 2010 Curtailment Power output derated 1986 Recirculating Heat wave https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120815/nuclear-power-plants-energy-nrc-drought-weather-heat-water?page=show 39.4517°, -75.5406°
Curtailment:Perry Nuclear Intake Water Temperature 26 July 2012 Curtailment Power output derated 1987 Recirculating Heat wave https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120815/nuclear-power-plants-energy-nrc-drought-weather-heat-water?page=show 41.8006°, -81.1439°
Curtailment:Pilgrim Nuclear Intake Water Temperature 20 July 2013 Curtailment Curtailment until source water was under 75 °F 1972 Once-Through Heat wave https://www.wiseinternational.org/node/4149 41.9417°, -70.5833°
Curtailment:Powerton Coal Intake Water Temperature 10 July 2012 Shutdown Power output derated, unit eventually shutdown 1972 Cooling Pond Heat wave https://www.wiseinternational.org/node/4149 40.5378°, -89.6819°
Curtailment:Prairie Island Nuclear Intake Water Temperature 29 July 2006 Curtailment Power output derated 1974 Once-Through Heat wave https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=I_1MAAAAIBAJ&sjid=nDMDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6778%2C1606811&hl=en 44.6219°, -92.6314°
Curtailment:Quad Cities Generating Station Nuclear Discharge Water Temperature 29 July 2006 Curtailment Power output derated 1972 Once-Through Heat wave http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/energy-and-water-use/water-smart-power.html#.V4fNPa4htA9 41.72°, -90.31°
Curtailment:Riverbend Coal Discharge Water Temperature 12 August 2007 Curtailment 1929 Once-Through Drought, heat wave http://www3.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=29&RecNum=10364 35.36°, -80.9742°
Curtailment:Turkey Point Nuclear Discharge Water Temperature 20 July 2014 Variance Upper limit set to 103 °F from 100 °F, treated canal for algae growth Cooling Pond Above average temperatures http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/07/f2/20130716-Energy%20Sector%20Vulnerabilities%20Report.pdf 25.4356°, -80.3308°
Curtailment:Vermont Yankee Nuclear Inadequate Water Intake Volume 12 July 2012 Curtailment Power output derated 1972 Once-Through Drought https://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120815/nuclear-power-plants-energy-nrc-drought-weather-heat-water?page=show 42.7786°, -72.5133°
Curtailment:Will County Coal Discharge Water Temperature 5 July 2012 Variance IL EPA granted variance to NPDES to discharge at high temperature 1963 Once-Through Heat wave http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/our-energy-choices/energy-and-water-use/water-smart-power.html#.V7txI64htA9 41.6403°, -88.0792°
Powerplant Curtailments