US utility Entergy said it was monitoring Hurricane Gustav and making preparations for the storm, which is to make landfall in Louisiana today. As a precaution the company has shut down its Waterford nuclear power plant, some 20 miles west of New Orleans. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires plants to shut down if winds reach hurricane strength. Forecasts indicated maximum sustained winds at Waterford of about 88 mph (140 km/h) from Gustav. NRC chairman Dale Klein said: "We are taking this situation very seriously and closely coordinating with the nuclear power plants that are potentially in the storm's path." He added, "We are confident in the plants' ability to withstand tremendous natural forces." Other nuclear power plants in the Gulf coast region - River Bend in Louisiana; Grand Gulf in Mississippi; and South Texas Project - said they do not expect hurricane force winds at their plants. Entergy said that a "significant portion" of its customers could experience power outages, especially in Louisiana.