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Irene takes two nuclear plants offline via The Hill

By Ben Geman - 08/28/11 10:49 AM ET

Hurricane Irene – which was downgraded to a tropical storm Sunday – has prompted the shutdown of nuclear reactors in Maryland and New Jersey.

In Maryland, one reactor at Constellation Energy’s Calvert Cliffs plant automatically went offline late Saturday because a wind gust propelled a piece of aluminum siding from a building into the facility’s main transformer.

Constellation declared an “unusual event,” which is the lowest of four Nuclear Regulatory Commission emergency classifications. The plant’s other reactor remains online.

In New Jersey, Exelon Corp. took the one-reactor Oyster Creek Generating Station offline Saturday as a precaution ahead of expected high winds from the storm. The plant is about 60 miles east of Philadelphia in Ocean City, N.J.

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