A reactor at the Oconee Nuclear Station in South Carolina has been shut down after a series of explosions and a fire damaged a transformed on site.
The operator said that the incident, which happened on Sunday was “unusual” but declared there was no threat of radiation release.
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Oconee is one of the largest nuclear power plants in the US and is the second to have its operating license extended for an additional twenty years.
Emergency crews deployed at the scene have managed to contain the fire, and will remain at the scene to assist crews. Oconee Nuclear Station is a nuclear power plant located on Lake Keowee near Seneca, South Carolina.
“Unit #1 was shut down as a precaution,” Oconee County Emergency Management said in a statement. “There is NO POTENTIAL FOR RELEASE.”
The plant operator Duke Energy said that while “Unit 1 has been safely shutdown” the remaining “Units 2 and 3 continue to operate safely.”
Officials blamed the “unusual event” on electrical equipment failure inside a transformer they say was located outside the building.
Authorities urged the public stay away from the area as emergency personnel and Duke Energy staff work around the area. However they emphasized that there was no security risk that would require evacuations or traffic detours.
The transformer malfunctioned and caught fire at 3:20pm local time, and the “unusual event” was upgraded to an “alert” – a second level of emergency – at 4:58pm, according to the company.
Incidents falling to “alert” classification require outside interference from emergency services but pose “no threat to public safety,” the company explained.
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