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)
Published: March 8th, 2016 at 6:48 pm ET