UPDATED: Emergency shutdown at Illinois reactor — Smoke was actually steam containing radioactive material — Workers evacuated — Releases will continue throughout day (PHOTO)

Published: January 30th, 2012 at 2:54 pm ET



Title: Byron Station Declares Unusual Event
Source: Exelon Press Release
Date: Jan 30, 2012
Emphasis Added

[...] Operators at Byron Generating Station declared an Unusual Event at 10:18 a.m.CT, due to the loss of offsite power and Unit 2 coming offline.

The nuclear facility’s diesel generators activated as designed to provide power to the facility when there is a loss of offsite power to the facility. The facility remains in a safe condition. Station engineering experts are looking into the cause of the loss of offsite power.

Byron Station is designed to depressurize to reduce steam pressure as part of the many redundant safety systems built into the facility. Steam from the unit is released through safety relief valves that are specifically designed for this purpose. The steam, which will evaporate quickly, contained expected levels of tritium. Local residents may see or hear the steam release in progress, which will continue throughout the day until the unit cools down. These types of station releases are regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

There is no health or safety impact to workers or to the public from the release, and Exelon Nuclear has notified allappropriate local, state and federal officials of the Unusual Event. [...]

Read the report here

Title: Power loss shuts down one nuclear plant unit; public in no danger in Dixon IL, Sterling, IL and Rock Falls IL
Source: Shaw News Service
Author: Chris Johnson
Date: January 30, 2012 12:17 p.m. CST

(SOURCE: Chris Johnson)

A loss of power coming into the plant this morning led to an emergency shutdown of a unit at the Byron Nuclear Generating Station, but posed no danger to the public, an Exelon spokesman said. [...]

Smoke coming from the auxiliary building actually was steam coming from a relief valve, he said. [...]

Workers were evacuated and Byron and several other area fire departments were on stand by at the scene as precautionary measures, he said. [...]

PHOTO CAPTION: A loss of offsite power led to the shutdown of unit 2 at Byron’s Exelon Generating Station Monday morning. Steam from a relief valve can be seen escaping the auxiliary building. (The yellow building with brown roof. The concrete building is the containment building)

Read the report here

h/t Anonymous tips

Question by Robert in Byron, IL: What level of tritium is being released? How much? How will it affect us living within 2 miles of the facility? Is the steam being vented from the secondary loop or the primary loop?


  • Byron and several other area fire departments were called to stand by at the scene as a precautionary measure, [Exelon spokesman Paul Dempsey] said. -Ogle County News
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission Region III office in Lisle, Illinois, has activated its incident response center and entered monitoring mode due to an Unusual Event declared at the Byron nuclear power plant -Penn Energy

See also:

  • UPDATE: [intlink id="nuke-plant-spokeswoman-smoke-was-seen-coming-from-an-auxiliary-transformer-but-the-fire-department-found-no-fire-reuters" type="post"]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • UPDATE II: [intlink id="nrc-not-a-huge-concern-at-nuke-plant-outside-chicago-employees-reported-seeing-smoke-coming-from-transformer-after-outage-no-fire-found" type="post"]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • UPDATE III: [intlink id="reporters-at-byron-press-conference-the-loud-noise-can-you-tell-us-about-that-was-a-special-emergency-response-team-on-scene-video" type="post"]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • UPDATE IV: [intlink id="reporters-at-byron-press-conference-the-loud-noise-can-you-tell-us-about-that-was-a-special-emergency-response-team-on-scene-video" type="post"]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • UPDATE V: [intlink id="fireman-eyewitness-call-building-byron-nuclear-plant-filling-smoke-looked-like-lot-smoke-coming-containment-building-be-told-steam-video" type="post"]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • UPDATE VI: [intlink id="reporter-suspicious-isnt-unusual-fire-dept-be-called-byron-nuclear-plant-release-steam-video" type="post"]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • UPDATE VII: [intlink id="state-of-wisconsin-issues-statement-on-nuclear-incident-in-illinois-currently-monitoring-conditions-after-plant-lost-power-and-went-offline" type="post"]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • UPDATE VIII (Jan. 31): [intlink id="quake-hits-near-troubled-illinois-nuke-plant-releasing-radioactive-thats-right-she-said-earthquake-video" type="post"]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • UPDATE IX: [intlink id="ap-amount-radiation-being-released-illinois-nuke-plant-be-calculated-nrc-inspectors-control-room" type="post"]{{empty}}[/intlink]

An look back at how the press, NRC, state government and plant operator handled the worst commercial nuclear power reactor accident in US history, Three Mile Island:


Published: January 30th, 2012 at 2:54 pm ET


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