Four U.S. nuclear plant workers injured by flash — Explosion reported — Helicopter transport required

Published: April 3rd, 2013 at 9:43 am ET


Nuclear Regulatory Commission, April 3, 2013:  At 1707 CDT on 4/2/13 an arc flash occurred at the ‘B’ safeguards transformer (XMDV24) in the plant switchyard at Callaway [nuclear plant in Missouri]. At the time of the flash, ground straps were being placed on the ‘B’ safeguards transformer which had been removed from service for maintenance. The event resulted in a loss of power to areas/buildings outside the power block. There was no impact to equipment and systems in the plant. Four workers were injured or affected by the flash. The extent of the electrical-related injuries has not been determined. However, based on reports from the scene, all of the workers were conscious and walked away from the scene. One person was transported by helicopter and two by ambulance to a local hospital. […]

KMIZ: Emergency officials confirm an electrical explosion happened around 5:30 p.m., but the cause is still under investigation. Ameren Missouri said in a written statement that the accident occurred in the switch yard area, but a company spokesman declined to elaborate about what happened. […] South Callaway Fire, Callaway Ambulance and the plant’s emergency staff responded to the explosion.

KOLR: The company did not provide any details about the nature of the accident or identify the injured workers.  But one television report said reported the accident was an electrical explosion and that one of the employees was flown to University Hospital in Columbia for treatment.

KMOV: The company declined to elaborate about what happened. But Callaway County Emergency Management Director Michelle Kidwell said the 911 call reported burn victims, including two with burns to the face. Kidwell said a medical helicopter crew was among the emergency responders dispatched to the nuclear facility located about 25 miles northeast of Jefferson City.

From 3 days ago: [intlink id=”u-s-nuclear-plant-suffers-significant-industrial-accident-8-injured-1-dead-no-immediate-threat-to-the-public” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: April 3rd, 2013 at 9:43 am ET


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57 comments to Four U.S. nuclear plant workers injured by flash — Explosion reported — Helicopter transport required

  • Lion76 Lion76

    1safe adjective \ˈsāf\

    Definition of SAFE

    1: free from harm or risk : unhurt
    2a : secure from threat of danger, harm, or loss
    b : successful at getting to a base in baseball without being put out
    3: affording safety or security from danger, risk, or difficulty
    4 obsolete of mental or moral faculties : healthy, sound
    5a : not threatening danger : harmless
    b : unlikely to produce controversy or contradiction
    6a : not likely to take risks : cautious
    b : trustworthy, reliable

  • PavewayIII PavewayIII

    Thanks NRC, but we haven't been able to figure out your previous brain-twister mystery status at Arkansas Nuclear One. Your licensee LIED on their original report about the nature of the unusual event, and then lied about Unit 2 having external power on Sunday. On Tuesday, they told you they really meant "initially had" power. And you choose not to publish that until today.

    Great job. You and your licensee effectively tricked the public into thinking Unit 2 has been safe all this time. Anything else you're not telling us?

    "…The event resulted in a loss of power to areas/buildings outside the power block. There was no impact to equipment and systems in the plant…"

    Or does your licensee really mean "was no initial" impact? And how degraded are the backup systems without a B safeguard circuit transformer?

    Safe enough to keep the pressure cooker boiling for 88% power, I guess. We'll wait for the inevitable, useless 'update' in three days to find out how you duped us on this one.

    This joke just never gets old for you guys at the NRC, does it?

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Two accidents in as many days. Or maybe three days. We're not liking the nuclear industry's track record, out here in Humansville and Life-World.

  • Anthony Anthony

    This industry is taking a pummeling to their safe work environment image to be sure this last year. These events cast the light on the industry and is a layer of the onion, removed.

  • Wreedles Wreedles

    "At 1707 CDT on 4/2/13 an arc flash occurred at the ‘B’ safeguards transformer (XMDV24) in the plant switchyard at Callaway [nuclear plant in Missouri]. At the time of the flash, ground straps were being placed on the ‘B’ safeguards transformer which had been removed from service for maintenance."

    Removed from service for maintenance.

    In my world, 'removed from service' means disconnected/not powered and appropriate locks in place to assure that it won't become powered partway through the procedure.

    So either it wasn't truly removed from service, or it wasn't properly locked out. Neither one is good.

    So tired of all this…

    • pcjensen

      "so tired of all this" indeed. Risk + liability + proven lies & fraud & corruption + end of life construction + materials not meeting specs + gangs and unskilled labor working in nuclear + contraband found on site =

      huge problems for all politicians who continue to support nuclear power operations – not to mention multiple disasters around the world.

      Past time for honest dialog and effective actions to stop deadly stupidity.

      Go altenergy! ASAP, Obama et al.=> [Get rid of Monitz] Audit more and stop the lies!

  • markww markww

    Many companies in THE USA dumped their safety departments and safety people and gave the safety to managers. When that occurred it was 1985. Since then companies have fallen into lets make money first safety last. So the swing has happened. Instead of a safety fire and plant work permit and inspection and a safety inspector to over see the work and completion to be sure the work was to be done correctly someone messed up. This is the norm hurry and fix to heck with safety.


    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      Why not, markww? In the nuclear industry, if it all goes to hell, the taxpayers get stuck with the cleanup tab.

      No insurance needed, no company liability fund needed, what a great business to be in! How about using taxpayer funds to subsidize construction and operations, too? And, just to be really nice guys, how about if we allow you all to take huge tax breaks, hopefully helping some of you to pay no taxes at all (GE, cough, cough)?

      Just make sure those campaign contributions come in on time. . .

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Yes, TIS, and it's often too dirty and toxic to go back into the mess and figure out what happened. So the buck gets passed. And passed. Right?

  • Its Curtains

    "However, based on reports from the scene, all of the workers were conscious and walked away from the scene. One person was transported by helicopter and two by ambulance to a local hospital. […]"

  • lam335 lam335

    "… loss of power to areas/buildings outside the power block"

    So does this mean the reactors had to be shut down, with the result that more rad-tainted steam will have to get released? We just had the spewing in Arkansas a few days ago; now are we going to have more tritiated steam descending upon the midwest as a result of this accident?

  • Do a search using Yahoo search.. NOT GOOGLE.. as they paid NOT to give results.. on telephone pole fires.! This is our sun spooling-up to a Carrington Event! They may have switched it off.. but that doesn't mean it was dead!
    This has been going on since start of last year.. and a few NPP have lost entire sub-stations to this effect !!!!
    It's the cause of all the electrical & electronics getting fried.!!
    They don't want ANYONE to know just how high the RISK that these plants now represent!
    We lose the grid to a Carrington event… we LOSE EVER SINGLE PLANT… withing 2 weeks MAXIMUM time frame.!! It has been looked at, and would take 2 YEARS to recover the grid from such an event! TWO YEARS! That's WAY TOO LATE!!! Every plant we have would china syndrome long before that !!! Our best plants can hold-out for only 2 weeks on generators and current on-site fuel.

    • Wreedles Wreedles

      Geomagnetic K indices for 4/3/13 have not yet been posted, so I am unable to determine if there is a correlation between recent solar activity and this arc-flash.

      I tend to think that this was more likely caused by sloppy workmanship. But you could be right.

      Axiom: When you hear hoof beats, think horses first, not zebras. Doesn't mean it's not zebras, just more efficient to consider the most likely possibilities first.

      BTW, I'm not trying to downplay the danger of a Carrington event. If this happens (again) it's pretty much an indisputable ELE 'game-over.' since ALL of the reactors on the planet will lose decay-heat removal capability, and ALL of the SFP on the planet will boil dry and burn.

      Just one more reason these damn plants should never have been built.

    • norbu norbu

      You are write PattieB, May is the predicted time for this event, the sun will be at it's solar maximum.

      • PavewayIII PavewayIII

        The sun is well into a solar maximum cycle, norbu. There really isn't any practical distinction between days (probability of activity) within the months of highest activity at the 'top' of a maximum cycle. So far, this solar maximum has been pretty boring overall. If you're interested in this sort of thing, subscribe to S0's daily 3-minute updates.

        He had connection troubles today = no news, but plenty of interesting helio-pr0n from yesterday and before:

        He makes a pretty convincing argument for predicting earthquakes based on the activity of the sun.

      • pcjensen

        sorry: telephone pole fires, anywaayyyyyy

      • I don't use it.. and when told to do search on web.. Google user told me was no returned.. may have read my rant on them hide stuff.. and changed it.! 😉 It's same as with search on the power plant problem.. you think they will start letting folks find info on it..?

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Someone here posted a great piece a year or so ago on how Congress in the U.S. voted down a bill which would have required backup generators and redundancy in the grid, to make nuke plants safe if the grid went down. Or at least to help prevent meltdowns. Congress voted the bill down. The nuclear industry no doubt influenced politicians, via their lobbyists and PAC's.

      One of the requirements of the bill would have been to require backup transformers for the grid to be available to replace every one which might fail. (Hundreds?) There are only a few manufactured now, each year, worldwide. Far too few than would be required if there were to be another Carrington Event.

      Jebus, was that you who posted? A Green Road? PU239? I wish I could remember who it was. Whoever you are, would you please re-post some info. about how that bill got voted down?

      We've all been left exposed to a potential ELE because the nuclear industry is too cheap to work with utilities to keep us all safe. Or they ARE utilitiy companies and they don't want to pay. There is no promise of safety in the event of grid failure whatsoever, and it COULD HAVE BEEN DONE.


  • Sickputer

    PattieB: "Our best plants can hold-out for only 2 weeks on generators and current on-site fuel."

    SP: Certainly a worst case scenario would be difficult to keep the plants cool until all the fuel rods in America could be casked (5 to 10 years), but you would hope if that was the only option for a nation's survival then there would be an immediate World War III national project to bring in diesel fuel, backup and triplicate diesel generators for months…then build solar and wind turbines for onsite power within a year.

    The logistics are daunting and martial law would be invoked because there is not enough money in any national economy to handle such a crisis. I would like to think it would be the nuclear wakeup call to humanity if such a disaster happened. Probably the USA would be the only nation that could handle such a crisis or perhaps help another country if they were the only country affected.

    But if the entire Northern Hemisphere was affected with a total grid SBO (nuclear station blackouts)then I would suspect the human race would be exterminated.

    • here's the thing.. a Carrington event won't just take out the grid.. would be sort-of like EM-pulse.. ALL new TT-trucks, and most cars… won't even run. The coils are going to go, just like the transformers on the poles.. they do much the same thing. How will you deliver the fuel…? The military trucks will still run.. but, we do not have that many of such that can pull a civilian trailer… the hook-up is different.

      • norbu norbu

        Thats write PB, nothing electronic will work after such event. You can build a faraday cage. They are easy to build and cheap. I have 2 of them, 1 for computers, cell phones, cb radios ect.., 1 for big items like a old car and some car batteries, electric tools ect…

        • PavewayIII PavewayIII

          Thought so too, norbu. The smart guys say otherwise.

          They protect the contents against electrostatic fields and work for certain ranges of electromagnetic waves, but they won't work for a CME. A CME is like a bundle of many frequencies – it has extremely low as well as extremely high frequencies that Faraday cages apparently can't protect against. A room built with foot-thick magnetite-filled walls, ceilings and floor is supposedly required.

          And don't bother saving your cell phone. There won't be any cell phone service for half a decade if there's a CME (but you'll still be expected to pay your bill on time). Cell phone, land-line and internet service will be history and nobody will be able to pay for it anyway.

          • norbu norbu

            You are so right, I just cant sit back and do nothing, I must try. I do not care if my cell goes out. In the process of building a underground, 6' under the surface. Many thanks for your feedback. I appreciate the info. Day by Day. peace

            • PavewayIII PavewayIII

              My dog can dig 30' straight down in my yard for no reason at all, but eventually get's bored and wanders off looking for fresh garbage or a nice dead squirrel. I'm to lazy to dig, so I think I'll just follow him around if there's a CME. He knows all the good spots.

              • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication


                Just put a few rabbits in the back yard. They can make curvaceous tunnels as well. :>)

      • Sickputer

        If a CME does produce an EMP that burns out most electronics then I would say the nuclear countries would be up shit creek with a stinky feather in their hand.

        Hopefully the worst effect would not be an EMP but instead just blows all the transformers. They could probably fix that in five years with the mandatory martial law. Back to the Stone Age for a while.

        I would sure hope the solar system dynamics don't wipe us out. It's bad enough we are subjected to the Dr. Frankenstein nuclear industry.

        Nuclear megaplexes are a global ELE or country ELE just waiting to happen. Just ask the intellectuals in Japan. I think they know they are on the cusp of an ELE. It would be sheer madness to restart the nuclear power plants there while they are so close to dying from Fukushima Daiichi.

        But hey…the Diet already let the nucleocrats restart two plants and want to run some more. Big Brother has control in that land and the citizens are disarmed victims. A few thousand nucleocrats determine the fate of the 127 million people nation.

        • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication


          Engineers, who have narrowly specialized, design and operate nuclear power plants. Politicians have to take their advice on all things nuclear as do government employees and most others. This does not excuse the politicians at all. They are culpable because they make no effort to find the real facts for themselves. How easy it must be to lead them around by the nose. Who can challenge the engineers who know nothing except their area of specialization?

          How much more culpable is the ASLB, most of whom specialized in the particular field of nuclear energy. They cannot plead they do not know, yet make decisions which will bind thousands of generations of people to care for the nuclear waste?

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        True, Pattie B. EMF pulsed weaponry has been around since at least the 1960's, and has been a part of nuclear weapons programs from the beginning. An incoming X-class solar flare of sufficient strength has the same effect as an EMF pulse weapon, only it's potentially much, much stronger.

    • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication


      "Probably the USA would be the only nation that could handle such a crisis or perhaps help another country if they were the only country affected." Really? I was just watching a link today posted by anne of a movie (1 1/2 hours long) that I had actually seen before. In it, it was pointed out that France and Germany are the two countries who have dry casked their nuclear waste other than La Hague. The U.S. has not; they implied it was to save money which is almost certainly true. Nuclear power is not cost effective anyway since the government, taxpayers, and ratepayers are called upon to support it constantly.

      Another thing I noticed was that Cirirad(sp?) (who did the study and made a movie of it, sent an employee to the Techa River in Russia at 38.20 in the film to get samples of the water which they said was highly contaminated. He was not wearing protective gear and his hands were bare except for rubber gloves. Therefore, I questioned how seriously the water was contaminated. Otherwise, it appeared to me to be informative. 6,000 generations is much too long to look after nuclear waste. How stupid to have started it in the first place. The film points out that few people (including most politicians) understand nuclear power.

      The movie is here:

    • Nigwil

      A CME hitting any region with nuclear power plants will likely see them all go Fukushima within hours as not only will the external power supplies blow but the pulse will fry control and instrumentation all the way to the desk and devices.

      So even the sensors that would normally tell the generator controllers that the mains have gone will be fried, as will the motor controllers for the generators themselves. If its copper and connected, it will be ruined.

      By the time the lads have pulled the car batteries out of all the cars in the car park the cores will be boiling dry and the spent fuel ponds will be all a bubble. By the time they have wired all the batteries into series and tried to get a multi-megawatt AC primary circulator pump running on n x 12 volts DC the radiation levels will be starting to climb.

      With no communications, no on or off site power, and no hope of any change to that unhappy condition in the foreseeable future the astute workers will run for it while the noble ones stay and meet their maker without saving a sparrow.

      Then the radiation plume from that plant will swing across the next, rendering that uninhabitable too, and the process repeats until the entire contents of the cores and SFPs of the regions nukes are all just a blowin' in the wind for the next thousand years.

      Not that that is anything to worry about.

  • I've stepped in it again.. they shutdown the steel solider site with the listing of the one guy who made a connect-all setup.. defines what the problem is!..

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    April Program – '700 Tons of High-Level Nuclear Waste Are Stored at the Callaway Nuclear Plant. Should We be Concerned?'
    April 24 2013

    • NoPrevarication NoPrevarication


      It is interesting to note that neither the MSM nor PBS have mentioned the two npp accidents in the last few days. Although PBS put on several minutes of the nearby oil spill and brought people in to discuss the pros and cons, they had not a word to say about nuclear problems or anyone dying a few miles away. They did portray the young man whose leg was broken during a ball game…. It is what it is.

  • Let me put it in a "Nut-Shell" for everyone.

    ALL NPP here in the USA… ONLY at Peak LOAD… not what capable of, but MAX-LOAD in summer add to the grid!…??? 36 megawatts. That's ALL !!

    We installed 1/3 of that.. 13 Gigawatts in renewable solar and wind in 2012 alone.
    5 megawatts in just the month of Dec. 2012.

    We do 3 times that this year..? We will have replace all that NPP's actually contribute with to the grid with an extra 3 gigawatts left over!

    With a push on.. and change from 50% new power installed, to 100% all new power being build being renewable..? Would take just 6 months to get to the point we'll not even need them running at all!


  • lickerface lickerface

    That sure isn't as much power as I thought too… I was thinking 1.21 Jigawatts or higher. It seems we don't need all the extra power. I like this transition plan btw. What to do with all the radioactive waste though…

  • They CAN make a great deal more.. but it's like Japan.. not really needed.. and nukes are down alot.. so..actually the grid is then forced to FEED the nuke in return. so.. demand WITHOUT nukes.. will DROP !!!

    • We Not They Finally

      So true. They shut off the NPP's in Japan and whoops, still had power! It makes one wonder (we had wondered anyway) if that is all they are really being used for. Like people get so freaked about Iran "enriching uranium." Well, that's what NPP's DO!! No NPP's, no nuclear bombs. Like duh….

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        Yes, what you said is true, We Not They Finally.

        Now Japan's new Prime Minister and his lackeys have come along and said there is a power shortage in Japan. Therefore, they must re-start all the idle nuclear reactors. And they lied and said there's no viable technology to replace the nuke plants. And they lied and said they have to raise the rates charged to the consumers in Japan, etc., etc. ad nauseum.

        Liars, liars, pants on fire.