CHICAGO— Residents and businesses were not the only ones without power after the Monday storm that roared through Illinois.

The Braidwood nuclear power station in Illinois lost main power supply to sirens that would notify a “large segment” of the public in the areas closest to the nuclear power station in the event of an emergency.

Exelon’s Braidwood nuclear power station in Braceville Illinois lost power to some emergency sirens due to the storms that impacted the region on Monday evening. 34% of the area closest to the nuclear facility did not have siren coverage. The storm came through the area around 6:30 p.m. on Monday evening and the power outage to the sirens was discovered the morning after the storm at around 7:15 a.m. and a backup generator was connected around 10 a.m. 15½ hours after the storm.

As of 9:30 am two days later 20% of the area’s sirens are being run by temporary power according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC’s) on-site inspector at the Braidwood nuclear power station Greg Roache. 14% of the area remains without siren coverage directly from the Braidwood facility. The remaining siren outage also impacts some areas of coverage for Exelon’s Dresden nuclear power station as the siren coverage overlaps. The loss of siren coverage at the Dresden nuclear power station is less than 25% and is not required to be reported to the NRC.

The National Weather Service confirmed 5 tornadoes touched down in Northern Illinois, one in the town of Morris Illinois near where the Dresden nuclear power station is located.

“The possible impact of a severe tornado on a nuclear facility’s spent fuel pool building and the probable loss of siren notification to those closest to such an emergency must be re-evaluated by the NRC,” asserts Gail Snyder, Board President of Nuclear Energy Information Service (NEIS), a 33-year old Illinois nuclear watchdog and safe-energy advocacy organization. “Sirens should have emergency backup generators or alternative power supplies that would automatically keep the sirens running in the event of a nuclear accident,” Snyder says.
“The NRC had previously denied a petition filed by safe-energy advocacy groups in 2005 to provide backup power for sirens. Prior to that NRC had also denied a similar petition suggesting that sirens be equipped with solar panels as a source of backup power,” points out Dave Kraft, NEIS Director. “It is simply irresponsible of both NRC and Exelon to wait for someone to get hurt before requiring corrective action, especially after deliberately ignoring warnings by local residents and stakeholders twice before,” Kraft states.

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