Oconee Nuclear Plant in North Carolina — March 7, 2016
Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in Tennessee — March 9, 2016
From ENE News
ALERT: Emergency at US nuclear plant after “massive” fire and multiple explosions — “All of a sudden we heard this loud boom and the whole ground started shaking” — “Intense Flames… Heavy Black Smoke… Chaos” — 100s of fire personnel called in — “We ask that the public stay away from the area” (VIDEOS)
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Mar 7, 2016 (emphasis added): [Oconee Nuclear Station, SC] EMERGENCY DECLARATION DUE TO FIRE/EXPLOSION IN THE MAIN TRANSFORMER… At 1520 EST, the licensee declared a Notification of Unusual Event… personnel were applying additional foam to prevent a re-flash… Offsite assistance was requested with three local fire departments… At 1658 EST, the licensee declared an Alert [when] the fire damaged an overhead power line that supplies emergency power to all three units at Oconee.
WHNS transcript, Mar 7, 2016: People fishing on the lake… reported hearing a loud boom and seeing black smoke, and then steam… Witnesses say there were two explosions… This afternoon [was] chaos… Fire crews [were] all on scene at the Oconee nuclear plant after a massive electrical fire… Fire Official: “It’s also in very close proximity to the buildings… I know they worked on… preventing the transformer from impinging on any of the other structures”… People in the area were very concerned when they saw heavy black smoke… Witness: “All of a sudden we heard this loud boom and the whole ground started shaking.”… It’s a scary situation… [An official] said it was a very rare problem.
Loudspeaker at Oconee Nuclear Station: “Attention all site personnel… This is an emergency message… An unusual event has been declared for Unit 1… TSC – OSC [Technical Support Center – Onsite Operational Support Center] activation is necessary and the TSC – OSC has not yet been activated. Activate the TSC – OSC — I repeat, activate the TSC – OSC.”
WYFF, Mar 7, 2016: Scott Batson, site vice president [said] the intense flames and smoke came from oil burning… Batson said because a cable burned in the fire fell and caused other equipment to be affected, which led to the “unusual event” to be upgraded to an alert.
FOX Carolina, Mar 7, 2016: Hundreds of fire personnel sprang into action after a fire started at the Oconee Nuclear Plant.
WSPA transcript, Mar 7, 2016: Nearby Resident: “I freaked out – you see a fire, smoke at a a power plant”… Fire Chief: “When you’re responding to a call, and you can see it when you leave the station like that, it really kind of gets your adrenaline going.”
Oconee County Emergency Management, Mar 7, 2016: “We ask that the public stay away from the area as emergency personnel and Duke Energy staff work.”
Greenville News, Mar 6, 2016: The alert was necessary because the problem could have affected operations of the plant itself… The transformer is 25 to 30 feet from the turbine building that serves Unit 1 and about 100 yards from the reactor building…
WLOS, Mar 6, 2016: A transformer burst into flames at an Upstate nuclear power station…. Officials did ask the public to stay away from the area… The fire chief also said crews are continuing to work with on-site personnel to ensure… there is no further extension.
From last month: ALERT: Fire/explosion at North Carolina nuclear plant (VIDEO)
EMERGENCY: Fire breaks out at another US nuclear plant — Blaze ignites in turbine building — “It took so long to put out” — Alert issued to government officials (VIDEO)
March 10, 2016
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Mar 9, 2016 (emphasis added): WATTS BAR [Tennessee]… Emergency Class: UNUSUAL EVENT… EMERGENCY DECLARED… UNUSUAL EVENT DECLARED DUE TO A FIRE GREATER THAN 15 MINUTES… Watts Bar Unit 2 declared an Unusual Event at 0342 EST based on a fire greater than 15 minutes in the turbine building – 2B Hotwell pump motor… Notified DHS… DOE, FEMA… and Nuclear SSA…
WBIR, Mar 9, 2016: An electrical fire overnight at TVA’s Watts Bar Nuclear Plant in southeast Tennessee triggered an alert… It took about 29 minutes from the time the fire was discovered until it was extinguished by the Watts Bar Fire Brigade. The pump was in a part of the plant that is hard to access, and that’s why it took so long to put out. Because the fire burned longer than 15 minutes, a Notice of Unusual Event (NUE) was declared. The NUE triggered an alert to TEMA and other agencies… Unit 2 is fueled but is non-operational. The hot well is where the steam from power generation ends up after being condensed back into water.
WTVC, Mar 9, 2016: TVA spokesman Scott Brooks says the fire broke out at 3:45 a.m. in one of the pump motors, one that received an operating license back in October.
Power Engineering, Mar 9, 2016: Watts Bar 2 Shut Down After Turbine Building Fire — Workers with the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) declared an Unusual Event at Watts Bar Unit 2 in Tennessee due to a fire inside the turbine building… The cause is under investigation.
Chattanooga Times Free Press, Mar 10, 2016: Fire at Watts Bar… triggers emergency event
Chattanooga Times Free Press, Mar 9, 2016: Fire in Watts Bar pump motor on Thursday declared an emergency… fire ignited early Wednesday in one of the pump motors for TVA’s newest reactors, forcing the federal utility to declare the lowest of emergency classifications at the plant even before it has produced any power… The Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor will be the first new nuclear reactor added to America’s nuclear grid since the other Watts Bar unit started up in 1996. TVA has spent more than $5 billion to build the unit through a series of starts and stops in construction since the project began in 1973.
WRCB, Mar 9, 2016: Fire in Watts Bar pump motor today brings emergency declaration
WJHL, Mar 9, 2016: TVA: Watts Bar Dam generating unit caught on fire… Tennessee Valley Authority was alerted of an “usual event” [and] was able to extinguish the fire after the alert.