This past week, the East Coast experienced the strongest Atlantic tropical storm on record. Despite the chaos and devastation Hurricane Sandy brought with it, nuclear energy facilities in the northeast seem to have stood strong.
Due to strategic planning and preparation beforehand, such as securing equipment, making sure doors were weather-tight and emergency backup diesel generators were ready to go, 24 out of 34 facilities from South Carolina to Vermont continued to generate electricity during the storm. Even though not all facilities remained in operation, all 34 responded well. Of the 10 that were shut down only three closed because of storm conditions, and the remaining seven were already closed due to refueling or inspection.
This successful response was largely due to the actions of reactor operators and emergency response personnel. These workers ensured the power plants and areas around the facilities remained safe throughout the storm.
“Hurricane Sandy once again demonstrates the robust construction of nuclear energy facilities, which are built to withstand extreme flooding and hurricane-force winds that are beyond that historically reported for each area,” said Marvin S. Fertel, president and chief executive officer at the Nuclear Energy Institute.
This preparation for the unknown certainly paid off in the battle against Sandy. In addition, many of those reactors have installed Locus’ Cloud-based EIM system to manage their environmental data. Consequently, their access to key data, or ability to add new data, has been unaffected by the storm.
It is during tragic natural disasters like this that the value a Cloud-based system brings to critical infrastructure environmental information management is truly proven. The last location that an environmental information management system should be running from is within the plant itself. Both Fukushima and the BP Gulf spill disaster have shown that no critical software should run at the facility itself; that software and data could be destroyed (or become inaccessible )along with the facility, and the data that would have helped determine the cause of the disaster would be lost for all practical purposes. For these and other reasons, a Cloud-based alternative for environmental information management is the preferred way of managing such data. In the case of a disaster these Cloud-based systems can also be accessed from any location with Internet access, so data can be instantly accessible up until the disaster onset, and can continue to be remotely collected during and after the event.