4 Hurt in MO Nuke Incident

Friday, April 5, 2013 @ 04:04 PM gHale

Three people suffered injuries Tuesday night at Callaway Energy Center in Callaway County, MO, by an electrical arc that produced an intense burst of heat. A fourth person also suffered an injury while trying to help the other three.

The incident, which occurred while employees were working on a piece of equipment in the switch yard, happened at 5:06 p.m. The switch yard, which distributes power from the facility to customers, is outside the protected area of the nuclear plant, which is about 25 miles northwest of Jefferson City.

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A Callaway County emergency management official said a 911 caller reported several burn victims, including two with burns to the face.

Company communications director Rita Holmes-Bobo said three people are undergoing treatment at hospitals, but she would not identify them or describe their condition. Callaway County emergency management director Michelle Kidwell said a medical helicopter crew was among the emergency responders dispatched to the scene.

The cause of the electrical arc, which did not affect power generation, is under investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Bill McDonald, the St. Louis area OSHA director, said his office got a call Wednesday about Tuesday evening’s incident. OSHA’s official investigation started Thursday morning, and McDonald said it will likely take 30 to 60 days to complete.

Ameren Missouri is also investigating the incident.

“Our first concern is for the well-being of our co-workers,” Ameren Missouri said in a statement. “Out of respect for the privacy of the employees and their families, we are not providing details of their status at this time.”

Beginning the week of April 7, the facility will begin its 19th planned refueling and maintenance outage. These happen every 18 months and last for several weeks. During the outage, energy to about 20 percent of Ameren Missouri’s 1.2 million customers will instead come from other Ameren Missouri energy centers.

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