Ice Shuts Down IL Nuke

Thursday, March 5, 2015 @ 05:03 PM gHale

Ice forced an automatic shut down one of the two units at the Byron Generating Station Tuesday morning, said an Exelon Corporation spokesman.

Unit 1 shut down at 11:01 a.m., said Exelon Spokesman Paul Dempsey. “This did not impact local power service to customers.”

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Dempsey said workers at the Byron, IL-based plant found a large chunk of ice underneath the unit’s transformers leading them to believe an “ice intrusion” interrupted power to it.

“It was a very icy this morning, even in our parking lot,” Dempsey said.

Workers also checked to see if ice is a problem on the still functioning Unit 2 at the plant.

“Even if Unit 2 went down as well right now, it would not affect local service because of the way it’s set up,” Dempsey said.

The automatic shutdown acts as a safety mechanism, said Dempsey, who added there is no timetable of when Unit 1 will be back online. He said crews will be working shifts to make the necessary repairs.

According to Exelon’s website, Byron Generating Station, like all U.S. nuclear energy facilities, works off a “defense-in-depth” design, which means there are redundant layers of safety. There are multiple layers of safety systems to provide water to the reactor core. These safety systems, and their backup safety systems, end up powered by multiple and redundant power sources.

The plant is in Ogle County about 30 miles south of Rockford, IL. Together, the units provides electricity for about 2.3 million homes.

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