"Ameren is concerned about the community in and around the plant and wants to be as responsive as possible to their needs," says Ameren Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Rainwater. "My understanding is that most of the citizens who were evacuated from the area are moving back into their homes today; however, they may have damage or other concerns and should call us."
Early this morning the plant experienced a breach in the upper reservoir that caused flooding in the Johnson Shut-ins and resulted in the closing of one road. The plant's 1.5-billion-gallon upper reservoir experienced a rupture in the northwest corner causing water to flow downward and resulting in the closing of Route N. At this point the basin is essentially drained. The 300- acre lower reservoir is slightly higher than its normal level but is operating within design limits. A multi-disciplinary team, including experts in geology, has been assembled to determine next steps.
The incident appeared to have occurred around 5:30 a.m. today with the upper reservoir at its normal level. The company immediately implemented its emergency flooding plan and notified all authorities, including all emergency officials.
"More than two dozen senior AmerenUE managers, engineers and specialists are at the scene, investigating the incident; clearly, public safety is our top concern," says Rainwater.
Built in 1963, AmerenUE's Taum Sauk is a "pumped-storage" hydroelectric plant. It stores water from the Black River in the upper reservoir, built atop 1,590- foot-high Proffit Mountain, and releases the water to generate electricity when power is needed. The plant employs 12. All are accounted for and uninjured. The water flows down a mile-long tunnel inside the mountain, turning turbine- generators to produce electricity. When power demand is low, the same turbines run in reverse to pump water back to the upper reservoir.
AmerenUE is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation. Ameren companies serve 2.3 million electric customers and 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
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