Transformer fires cause nuclear plant shutdown

The fire was fortunately put out by the power plant’s own fire brigade.


Transformer fires cause shutdown of Waterford 3 nuclear plant

Image for illustration purposes.

USA, Killona: According to the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Entergy’s Waterford 3 nuclear generating plant in Killona had to shut down last week after two transformers caught fire in its main transformer yard. The fires and emergency SCRAM, or shutdown, of the reactor by rapid insertion of its control rods resulted in the plant’s emergency director declaring an “unusual event,” the lowest level of emergency events at a nuclear reactor, at 12:09 a.m. Friday. The status was terminated at 2:21 a.m. after the fire was put out, but the generator has not restarted.

Alocal fire department responded to the blaze, which was eventually put out by the power plant’s fire brigade. The Federal Emergency Management Agency and Louisiana emergency officials were notified about the incident by the plant officials, however, neither Entergy nor the NRC notified area residents.

“NRC staff held a phone call early Friday morning during which information concerning the shutdown was shared and discussed,” said FEMA spokesperson Victor Dricks. “We do not notify the media or issue press releases for unusual events as they do not pose a threat to public health and safety and no actions by the public are required. In this case, the fire was contained onsite, extinguished, and there was no danger of a radiation release,” he added.

“The plant remains offline in a safe, stable and secure position while repair schedules are made and completed. We cannot discuss when the plant will return to operation as that is business-sensitive information. We can say that the related work should take several weeks to complete,” said Mike Bowling, Entergy Nuclear’s communications manager.