Massive destruction wreaked by hurricane Katrina across much of Louisiana and Mississippi has seen more than 1 million people left without power.

Entergy, the major generation and distribution company in the region is faced with a huge job of restoring the network as the damage is assessed.

According to the company, Katrina was the worst storm in Entergy’s history.

Outages peaked at nearly 1.1 million homes and businesses, with some 790,000 in Louisiana and more than 300,000 in Mississippi, and the damage could require weeks to rebuild. Some 82 transmission line segments and 115 substations have been damaged and restoration may be hampered by flooding, blocked access or other obstacles.

The company shut two power plants, including the 1100MWe Waterford 3 nuclear unit, before Katrina made landfall.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission dispatched additional personnel to three nuclear power plants in Louisiana and Mississippi, all owned by Entergy, in response to Katrina. The Waterford plant is about 30km west of New Orleans, River Bend plant is about 40km north-northwest of Baton Rouge, and Grand Gulf is located about 40km south of Vicksburg, in Mississippi.

At Waterford 3, the major concern beyond winds was the storm surge. Grand Gulf and River Bend are both operating at reduced power in order to assist in restoring stability to the electrical grid following a drop in demand.

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