Insulator Woes at Byron Nuke

Thursday, March 1, 2012 @ 05:03 PM gHale

For the second time in a month, a power interruption caused operators at Byron Generating Station in Illinois to declare an “unusual event,” officials said.

A failed insulator in the station’s switchyard is the cause of the 5:30 p.m. Tuesday loss of power to Unit 1, the release said.

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One of the station’s redundant power sources kicked in and both of the plant’s units were operating at 100 percent power, it said.

Workers were replacing the insulator and the facility was “in a safe condition.”

An unusual event is the lowest of four emergency classifications established by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

On Jan. 30, an electrical insulator failed and fell off the metal structure they attached it to, interrupting power and causing an automatic shutdown of Unit 2. Workers completed those repairs and reconnected it to the electrical grid Feb. 7.

The NRC conducted a special inspection of the plant, and station Vice President Tim Tulon said at the time that its safety systems “passed with flying colors.”

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