Fermi 2 Shuts after Hydrogen Build Up

Monday, November 12, 2012 @ 06:11 PM gHale

Michigan’s Fermi 2 nuclear power plant remains shut down because of an excess of hydrogen gas in a cooling system for the main electrical generator, DTE Energy Co. officials said.

Workers will be checking equipment to find the root of the problem, said DTE spokesman Guy Cerullo. The company would not provide a timetable for the power plant to be back online.

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“Customers won’t see any difference,” Cerullo said. “We are always are able to get additional power from other plants.”

No one at the plant or in surrounding areas was in any danger, Cerullo said.

The plant shut down about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday to keep equipment from overheating. Cerullo said operators saw that water in part of the cooling system for the generator contained higher than normal amounts of hydrogen.

The generator is on the non-nuclear side of the plant and has two separate cooling systems for its different sections. One uses water and the other hydrogen. An increase in hydrogen gas in the water-cooled system decreases its efficiency.

As a precaution to prevent overheating, officials decided to shut the plant down, Cerullo said.

“It’s strictly to protect the equipment,” he said, adding no evacuations or calls for police or fire assistance were necessary.

The 1,100-megawatt reactor is next to Lake Erie in Monroe County’s Frenchtown Township, near Monroe.

It’s one of four nuclear reactors in Michigan. There are two reactors at Michigan Indiana Power Co.’s Cook Nuclear Plant near Bridgman in Berrien County, and one at Entergy Corp.’s Palisades Power Plant in Covert, near South Haven in Van Buren County.

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