Friday, February 24, 2006

Nuclear Emergency Details

A low-level emergency was declared wednesday 22nd, at the Byron Nuclear Generating Station near Rockford after smoke caused by an electrical problem filled a tunnel leading to a nuclear reactor of the plant, Exelon officials said.

An "unusual event," the lowest of four Nuclear Regulatory Commission emergency classifications, was declared at 8:54 a.m. It ended at 11:09 a.m.

It started when smoke filled a tunnel that carries a pipe that runs from a backup cooling-water supply tank to the reactor, Exelon Nuclear spokesman Craig Nesbit said. Workers turned off electricity to the room, and the smoke ceased, he said.

Electrical equipment—a small pump, small heater or circuit breaker—in the room was "sparking and smoking," Nesbit said.

No radiation was released, no one was injured and no safety-related equipment was damaged, he said. Plant operations continued normally.

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