As reported by Fox News, Hurricane Irene's landfall on the U.S. Atlantic seaboard is threatening atomic reactors:
"...Inspectors were also making sure the state's [of New Jersey's] four nuclear power plants were secured for the storm...
...Skip Sindoni, a spokesman for PSEG Nuclear, which operates three of the state's four nuclear reactors, said inspections were under way to make sure the plants' water-tight doors are working and to secure anything that could be loosened by the wind. He said the plants would be taken offline if it looks like hurricane-force winds are within two hours. He also said they could be shut down if floodwater reaches a certain level...".
PSEG Nuclear owns and operates three reactors -- Salem 1 & 2 and Hope Creek (a Fukushima Daiichi twin) -- on Artificial Island, NJ, just 15 miles from Wilmington, DE. Exelon Nuclear owns and operates the Oyster Creek reactor (another Fukushima Daiichi twin) near Toms River on the Atlantic Coast.
The article reported that electricity outages are of concern across Connecticut and Virginia, which could throw atomic reactors onto emergency diesel back up power, itself infamous for malfunctioning (Brunswick nuclear power plant, directly in the path of Hurricane Irene, has suffered 7 EDG breakdowns in 6 years, as documented by U.S. Rep. Ed Markey), in order to continue cooling hot reactor cores:
"...Gov. Dannel P. Malloy declared a state of emergency in Connecticut as residents stocked up on generators and other provisions Thursday and officials warned they should prepare for potentially prolonged power outages from Hurricane Irene, which threatened to dump up to a foot of rain on this already saturated state...
Malloy said this has been the clearest warning about a major hurricane hitting Connecticut, giving state and local officials, as well as the utilities, time to prepare for the storm. The electric and gas utilities have detailed response plans, including contracting with tree removal crews in anticipation of downed limbs and trees, he said.
Connecticut Light & Power, which serves 1.2 million customers, said it was cancelling vacations, putting all its personnel on standby and coordinating with sister companies in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to have additional crews available to restore power...
...[in Virginia,] Emergency officials are warning residents to prepare for massive power outages, flooding and damage from Hurricane Irene, a Category 3 storm that is expected to hit Virginia late Saturday or early Sunday."
Connecticut's operating reactors include Millstone Units 2 and 3 on Long Island Sound. Virginia's operating reactors are Surry on the James River, and North Anna Units 1 and 2 in Mineral, which just scrammed and declared an alert two days ago due to the 5.8 magnitude earthquake, consequent loss of offsite power, and failure of an emergency diesel generator. The Lake Anna Dam, which holds back Lake Anna, North Anna nuclear power plant's cooling water supply, is also of questionable structural integrity, especially after the earthquake.
Power Engineering also reported on this story. Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club has also written about Hurricane Irene's threat to the Garden State's 4 atomic reactors. Reuters lists 20 atomic reactors in 9 East Coast states "that could be in the path of Hurricane Irene." Reuters also reported more details on storm preparations being taken at various nuclear plants. Bloomberg has also reported on this story.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has announced it is activating emergency centers at its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, as well as its regional offices in Georgia and Pennsylvania, to monitor hurricane developments. It is also deploying extra staff to nuclear power plants, and a nuclear fuel fabrication facility, in Hurricane Irene's projected path.