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Officials powered down Wolf Creek nuclear plant after storm damaged power lines

Wolf Creek Nuclear Power Plant.jpg
Posted at 1:53 PM, Jul 15, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — High winds from Friday’s storms knocked out several spans of a transmission line between Wichita and the Wolf Creek Nuclear Generating Station, utility provider Evergy reported Saturday.

Chuck Caisley, Evergy senior vice president and chief customer officer, said Saturday morning that four to five spans on a 345-kilowatt transmission line were taken out during Friday afternoon’s storms. The lines stretch from Wichita to the Wolf Creek plant, located in Burlington, Kansas, about 100 miles southwest of Kansas City.

Once the spans were knocked out, plant officials initiated a planned and controlled power down to 60 percent of the facility’s capacity. The plant remained stable and presented no danger to the public, Caisley said.

“That was a pre-planned process that we execute whenever we lose a transmission line to that facility,” Caisley said.

In addition to a large swath of vegetation damaged from Friday’s storms, Evergy officials say hundreds of utility poles were taken out by the storm’s high winds. The damage to the electrical infrastructure made restoration more complicated in parts of the Kansas City area.

RELATED | Kansas Citians spend Saturday morning navigating power outages, storm damage

Caisley said crews were working Saturday afternoon to repair the transmission lines to the nuclear station, which was brought online in June 1985. Once the transmission lines have been repaired, officials are hopeful of returning the nuclear facility back to full power later Saturday or Sunday.

RELATED | Evergy officials give update on power restoration efforts

Closer to Kansas City, Evergy has deployed 2,000 line crews, call takers and other staff to help restore power. As of 1:45 p.m. Saturday, just under 64,000 customers remained without power across Kansas City.