Archive for the ‘2012 nuclear power plant power outages’ Category

Exelon Byron plant

3:25 p.m. CST, January 30, 2012

Backup diesel generators are supplying power to one of two units at Byron nuclear power plant after the plant lost power this morning.Viktoria Mitlyng, spokeswoman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission‘s Region III office Lisle, said two diesel generators are keeping the plant cool, with battery backup systems at the ready as well. “It is not a huge concern,” Mitlyng said. “It is the lowest of (the four) power emergency level declarations. “Mitlyng said one of two units at the plant — a 1,136 megawatt nuclear unit — was automatically shut down and is stable. Another unit — at 1,164 MW — is operating at full power. Employees at the plant reported seeing smoke coming from a transformer on site after the outage. The plant’s fire brigade responded, Mitlyng said, but didn’t find a fire. To aid in cooling, steam is being released, she said, and the NRC staff are monitoring. Byron Fire Protection District Chief Galen Bennett said the steam contained “expected levels of tritium” — an isotope of hydrogen with a weak level of radioactivity. He said the public and plant workers were “never in any danger” and no one was hurt. Steam releases may continue throughout the day.Byron nuclear plant is owned by Chicago-based Exelon Corp. and is in Byron, about two hours northwest of Chicago.

Nuclear regulators are keeping close tabs on an Illinois nuclear plant after a loss of off-site power to the plant Monday morning.

One of two reactors at the Byron nuclear power plant shut down when a transformer supplying electricity to the plant failed. Backup generators immediately kicked in to supply electricity to the reactor’s safety systems, including its cooling system.

Plant workers reportedly saw the transformer, located in the plant’s switch yard, release smoke after it failed, but local firefighters found nothing burning when they arrived.

During the shutdown, the plant vented steam containing trace amounts of tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen. But the release represented no health threat, federal and plant officials told the Associated Press. Candace Humphrey, Ogle County’s emergency management coordinator, added that public safety was never in danger.

How often does a transformer fail US plants?

About six to eight times a year, according to David Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer currently tracking nuclear-safety issues for the Union of Concerned Scientists. Not all result in a loss of off-site power, he says. Some plants can quickly isolate the bad transformer and draw electricity from other sources.

While the number seems small, the number of failures is rising, he adds. In many cases the transformers are as old as the plants themselves and have reached the end of their design lives. While the loss of a transformer can result in an emergency shutdown, as at Byron, the devices are not considered part of an emergency system. So they are not as rigorously inspected as a plant’s emergency systems are, Mr. Lochbaum says. The decision on when to replace them is left up to the utility.

Why did the plant let off steam?

To relieve pressure in the plant’s cooling system. Byron’s reactors are pressurized-water reactors. Water is circulated through the reactor core under high pressure so it can be heated above its boiling point. This superheated water is passed through a steam generator – basically a large heat exchanger that converts water in the secondary cooling system into steam the generators can use.

This system is designed to isolate water that comes into contact with the reactor from the water that is used to produce steam for the turbines.

When a pressurized-water reactor is shut down, this secondary system continues to make steam. But the steam no longer is being run through the turbines and through the cooling towers to be returned as a liquid for another cycle. Steam builds up in the secondary system and must be vented to prevent pipes in this secondary system from bursting.

Where did the tritium come from?

It’s a byproduct of the nuclear reactions that take place in the plant’s reactors and boron, used in a reactor’s coolant to help control the reactor’s chain reactions. It found its way into the vented steam at Byron because the piping that carried the reactor water through the steam generator has some small leaks, Lochbaum says.

How dangerous is it?

Tritium loses half its radioactivity in 12.34 years. The form of radioactivity it produces will not penetrate skin, although it can be ingested or absorbed through the skin as a component of water. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, tritium emissions from nuclear power plants “account for less than 0.1% of total background dose” humans are exposed to each year from natural sources. These background sources represent about half of the radiation doses people receive, the NRC notes.

Byron Nuclear Generating Station (Unit 2) was commissioned on August 2nd, 1987 according to
August 2nd, 1987
August 2nd
8 + 2 +2+0+1+1 = 14 = the Byron Nuclear Generating Station (Unit 2)’s personal year (from August 2nd, 2011 to August 1st, 2012) = Coexistence.
14 year + 1 (January) = 15 = the Byron Nuclear Generating Station (Unit 2)’s  personal month (from January 2nd, 2012 to February 1st, 2012) = Externalities.
15 month + 30 (30th of the month on Monday January 30th, 2012) = 45 = the Byron Nuclear Generating Station (Unit 2)’s personal day = Scary.  Things went horribly wrong.




comprehensive summary and list of predictions for 2012:




learn numerology from numerologist to the world, Ed Peterson:


Read Full Post »