BYRON (WIFR) — A little before 10:30 this morning the Byron Nuclear Plant lost power and unit two went offline. Plant engineers are still trying to figure out why it happened.
The plant has safeguards that go into effect automatically when emergencies arise. Fire crews were dispatched to the plant immediately to make sure that workers and neighbors weren’t in any danger and back up generators kicked on. The station also started to depressurize itself by releasing steam. We’re told some of that steam contains a mildly radioactive isotope called tritium.
Today’s outage is considered an ”unusual event,” which is the lowest of four emergency classifications used at nuclear plants.
NRC MONITORING AN EVENT AT BYRON NUCLEAR PLANT
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission Region III office in Lisle, Illinois, has activated its incident response center and entered monitoring mode due to an Unusual Event declared at the Byron nuclear power plant Unit 2. The event was declared due to a loss of offsite power at 10:18 a.m. CT. The two-unit plant is operated by Exelon Generation Co., located in Byron, Ill., 17 miles southwest of Rockford.
The plant automatically shut down in response to the loss of offsite power. Smoke was seen from an onsite station transformer. When the plant’s fire brigade responded, no evidence of fire was found. The diesel generators are currently supplying power to plant equipment. Steam is currently being released from the non-nuclear side of the plant to aid in the cooling process. The steam release does not present a threat to the public.
Unit 1 remains at full power.
NRC resident inspectors at the plant are monitoring the situation in consultation with staff in the Region 3 office in Lisle, Ill.
An Unusual Event is the lowest of four levels of the NRC’s emergency classification system.
Continue reading at Byron Station Unit 2 Loses Power, Declares Lowest Emergency Classification