Nuclear Event at Byron generating Station, Northern Illinois

March 2, 2012 at 2:02 pm (environmental, Nuclear Energy, Wisconsin)

So this hits way to close to home. In addition to the below copied alert, a few weeks ago the earthquake that mildly rattled Southern Wisconsin, tripped this exact same plant. Earthquakes are known to give off EMP’s which can temporarily knock out the grid, and, as most people are unaware of, nuclear plants are dependent on the grid for the vital cooling systems, they are NOT self-sufficient.  Last time there was a leak of radioactive tritium into the environment.  Tritium is a short lived isotope, but people were exposed to radiation nonetheless.

recopied from http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/site/?pageid=event_desc&edis_id=NC-20120301-34364-USA

Less than a month ago, the Byron station shut down their second unit due to a loss of offsite power. Last night a similar situation caused the station to declare yet another “unusual event.” Today, 23 News looked at what the problem is and why the nuclear regulatory commission keeping an extra eye on the stations inspection. Shortly after 5:30 yesterday afternoon the Byron Station’s emergency diesel generators kicked on as off site power was lost for the second time in less than 30 days. NRC Spokesperson Preyma Chandratchil, “Whenever there is a situation we go ahead and take a look at it to go ahead and see does it impact one unit, two units, and multiple units. We also go ahead and take a look to see if there are any larger broader implications whether its events at Byron or it’s an event at another nuclear power plant.” It was determined that the generators were tripped on due to a failed insulator which happens to be the same reason the plant shut down their second unit last month. Communications Manager for the Byron Station Paul Dempsey, “It is very similar to the failure we had last month. We still look into why the insulators failed. The last one looked at maybe the process of which it was manufactured. So this one we will do the same thing and try to find out why this insulator failed.” Excelon says the company that manufactured these parts is no longer in business which makes it harder to diagnose exactly how a piece of ceramic glass could break. Dempsey said, “The insulator that failed last month in the kiln, the heating process once you are finished putting it together maybe wasn’t done to standards so we will see if this current one has similar issues.” The insulator that failed last night was replaced this afternoon and Excelon and the NRC hope their report will help prevent other plants from having a similar issue in the future. An insulator is a piece of ceramic glass that prevents the wire carrying the electricity from shorting the electricity to the ground. The NRC’s report on how this may impact the rest of the industry is expected to be released within the next few months.

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