Texas has a diverse system of power generation, including natural gas, wind power, and Nuclear Power. A recent article in Forbes suggests that nuclear power rode out Harvey pretty smoothly as compared to other Energy Sources, providing much-needed electricity for residents and first responders in the storm’s wake.

Nuclear power plants are designed to be sturdy

Because of concerns about radiation release, the power plants of the South Texas Nuclear Project are hardened with reinforced concrete walls that happened to be flood proof. The power plants are designed to withstand the direct impact of an airliner, a concern considering the tactic used by the 911 hijackers.

The plants have protocols for operating during a hurricane event. As a result, crews were well stocked with provisions and sleeping arrangements inside the nuclear power plant and kept it running throughout the storm and the flooded aftermath.

Wind energy particularly vulnerable

Texas is the leading state of the Union where it comes to generating wind energy. While most wind farms in the Lone Star State are beyond the reach of hurricanes such as Harvey, one large wind farm that was in the path of the storm had to shut down when the winds exceeded 55 miles an hour. The task of getting the wind farm up and running now that the storm has passed with be a long and arduous one.

The bottom line

Nuclear power has been in the cross hairs of environmentalists for decades.

However, the preferred methods of generating electricity, wind and solar, are more prone to damage than nuclear stations from extreme weather events such as Harvey. Hurricanes cause power disruptions as a matter of course, by bringing down power lines. However, restoration of power can be complicated when electricity is disrupted at the source.

Every method of generating electricity has its advantages and disadvantages. Natural gas tends to be cheaper but prone to fuel disruptions. Wind and solar are more environmentally benign but can also be interfered with by extreme weather events. Nuclear power is expensive and can be very hazardous if an accident happens, but is designed to ride out a storm much better than any other source of energy.

Civilization, to remain smoothly functioning, cannot rely solely on one method of generating electricity. The advance of technology is likely to decentralize power generation to some extent, with the introduction of more home based solar power and neighborhood fusion power plants. However, as Harvey teaches us, a mix of sources of electricity better ensures that the juice keeps flower even under the most arduous of circumstances.