Oct. 3 PPL’s Susquehanna nuclear power plant in Luzerne County near Berwick, Pa., has officially declared the end of an “unusual event” that began early this morning (10/03) because of a fire in a start-up transformer on Unit 2.
The transformer caught fire when the unit was in the process of restarting following an automatic shutdown earlier this week. The plant control room was notified of the fire at 2:30 a.m. EDT. The plant’s fire protection brigade responded immediately and the automatic fire suppression system quickly extinguished the fire.
“Our emergency personnel complete extensive training to be prepared for this type of situation,” said Herbert D. Woodeshick, special assistant to the president for PPL Susquehanna. “In addition to our on-site fire team, fire companies from Salem Township, East Berwick and Mocanaqua were called to the site as a precaution.” Woodeshick also said that no plant personnel were injured.
The fire triggered plant operators to declare an unusual event. An unusual event means a minor problem has occurred at the plant that could reduce plant safety. No action by the general public was required. An unusual event is the lowest of the four emergency classifications established by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for nuclear power plants.
Woodeshick said it appears the fire was the result of an internal failure in the Unit 2 start-up transformer. PPL has a spare transformer on site and will replace the transformer before Unit 2 can begin to restart. Unit 1 continues to operate at 100 percent power.
The Susquehanna plant, located in Luzerne County about seven miles north of Berwick, is owned jointly by PPL Susquehanna LLC and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc. and is operated by PPL Susquehanna.
PPL Susquehanna LLC is a member of the PPL family of companies. PPL Corporation, headquartered in Allentown, Pa., controls nearly 11,500 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States, sells energy in key U.S. markets, and delivers electricity to customers in Pennsylvania, the United Kingdom and Latin America.