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
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62 comments


SEE UPDATES AT BELOW


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?

More:

  • 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
By

62 comments

Related Posts

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

  • vivvi

    I suppose tritium is good for you now? There seems no limit to what these evil money-vampires will do.

    • 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.

      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. […]

      Tritium is potentially dangerous if inhaled or ingested. It can combine with oxygen to form tritiated water molecules, and those can be absorbed through pores in the skin.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tritium

      • CB CB

        “The steam contains low levels of radioactive tritium, but the levels are safe for workers and the public, federal and plant officials said.”
        WBEZ95.1
        http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-nuclear-reactor-loses-power-venting-steam-95969

      • xdrfox
        January 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm · Reply
        Risks to Drinking Water for Illinois Nuclear Power Plants …

        3 days ago … Chicago, IL – The drinking water for 652000 people in Illinois could be at … the plant uninhabitable, and even contaminated drinking water sources near … “Any
        radiation from a nuclear plant in Illinois would increase the risk of …
        http://www.illinoispirgedfund.org/news/ilf/nuclear-power-plants-pose-risks-drinking-water-illinois

        Before
        Illinois nuclear plant leaks contaminated drinking water – Chicago …

        June 18, 2011 An Associated Press investigation reveals that as the number and severity of radioactive material leaks at U.S. nuclear power …
        http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-chicago/illinois-nuclear-plants-radioactive-waste-resident-s-drinking-water

        • Anthony Anthony

          ***”This is an important study that underscores the dramatic risks nuclear plants pose to our health,” said Dr. Sam Epstein, a medical doctor and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. “Any radiation from a nuclear plant in Illinois would increase the risk of cancer and other serious illnesses.”

          Radiation from a disaster like the one in Fukushima can contaminate drinking water and food supplies, as well as harm our health. But disaster or no disaster, a common leak at a nuclear power plant can also threaten the drinking water for millions of people. As our nuclear facilities get older, leaks are more common. In fact, 75 percent of U.S. nuclear plants have leaked tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen that can cause cancer and genetic defects.***

        • Unit 1 and Unit 2, which first began operation in September 1985 and August 1987 respectively. The plant was built for Commonwealth Edison and is currently owned and operated by Exelon Corporation.

          The plant provides electricity to northern Illinois and the city of Chicago. In 2005 it generated on average about 2,300 MWe, enough power to supply about 2 million average American homes. The station employs over 600 people, mostly from Ogle and Winnebago Counties and features two prominent 495-foot (150.9 m) cooling towers. The Byron plant has been subject to some controversy since its construction began, starting with a 1981 lawsuit and continuing into the present with concerns over tritium contaminated groundwater. Tritium contamination at Byron and other Illinois nuclear power plants led the state of Illinois to pass legislation requiring plants to report such contamination to the state within 24 hours. Plant security was increased after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byron_Nuclear_Generating_Station

  • many moons

    Everything went so well! Off site power went off so wham plant goes into cold shut down and pow the back up generators leap into service so….what’s all the venting about? Little gap in the story…that gets fill in with “but let us remind you there is NO threat to your health or the health of the plant workers” They are always so sure about that part…I see a pattern of lying going on….

    • Hemisfear311 Hemisfear311

      Many moons, you spotted the empty spot in this story.

      If everything was working as it was supposed to, then there would have been no venting of radioactive steam.

      Something went wrong, they lost offsite power, cooling system got too hot, and they had to vent in order to prevent further disaster.

      What apparently did work was the immediate auto-reponse we have heard so often before. The message we have learned really means: “There is NO immediate threat to the shareholders and investors”.

      • lokay5 lokay5

        Good thinking Hemi!. Maybe the latest and greatest excuse for a reactor system failure is to declare a loss of off-site power, that way it makes it look like the problem(s) we not a result of anything at the plant.

    • Like when you walk into the kitchen and three kid’s sitting at the table with chocolate cake icing around their months a face’s and the cake has been ravished on top, you asked them who eat some cake and they all say not me, shaking their heads back and forth !

      True story !

      : D

  • CB CB

    What’s the expected level of Tritium? I wasn’t expecting any.

  • bmurr bmurr

    I hope they havd functiong scram systems. Wasnt it westinghouse pwr that has been having trouble with control rod guide tubes?
    I have no faith in the truth coming out any time soon. If i lived over there id be taking a road trip today.

    • many moons

      Good advice!!!

    • Bones Bones

      Def spot on! I hope people can take readings in that area.

    • Mechanisms

      In any reactor, a SCRAM is achieved by a large insertion of negative reactivity. In light water reactors, this is achieved by inserting neutron-absorbing control rods into the core, although the mechanism by which rods are inserted depends on the type of reactor. In PWRs, the control rods are held above a reactor’s core by electric motors against both their own weight and a powerful spring. Any cutting of the electric current releases the rods. Another design uses electromagnets to hold the rods suspended, with any cut to electric current resulting in an immediate and automatic control rod insertion. A SCRAM rapidly (less than four seconds, by test on many reactors) releases the control rods from those motors and allows their weight and the spring to drive them into the reactor core, thus halting the nuclear reaction (by absorbing neutrons) as rapidly as possible. In BWRs, the control rods are inserted up from underneath the reactor vessel. In this case a hydraulic control unit with a pressurized storage tank provides the force to rapidly insert the control rods upon any interruption of the electric current, again within four seconds. A typical large BWR will have 185 of these control rods. In both the PWR and the BWR there are secondary systems (and often even tertiary systems) that will insert control rods in the event that primary rapid insertion does not promptly and fully actuate.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scram

  • Auntie Nuke

    I have family living @100 miles from there. Just warned them to stay inside, not harvest any veggies from their garden, wash things in water with zeolite/bentonite, etc.

    There really is nowhere to run…

  • bmurr bmurr

    http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/basic-ref/teachers/04.pdf

    Here are some fun facts about this type of reactor.

    • lokay5 lokay5

      Someone asked if this venting was from the primary or secondary. A VERY important question. I don’t think the secondary would contain tritium.

  • Au Au

    Look at the jet stream to see if this will land on your doorstep midwesterners and east coasters.
    http://squall.sfsu.edu/gif/jetstream_anal_00.gif

  • ConcernedMom

    I originally submitted this tip but was in a hurry, so I didn’t log in. The Byron nuclear power station is 10-12 miles from my home. It discharges water into the Rock River, which runs directly behind my house. Lovely, huh. 🙁 I am working 75 miles from home and my children are still there as they were in school today. My sister called her husband who is working there as we speak and he assured her that everything is fine. A transformer blew and tripped the power and there was a “small” fire in the transformer. To my knowledge, they are still offline. I know enough to know the implications of not keeping this thing cool. We probably won’t get any updates. I hate having this in my backyard. I do have a camper packed and ready to bug-out if needed. Time to review my evacuation plan.

    • Hemisfear311 Hemisfear311

      Bmurr said it in the above post (3:39 pm).

    • alexa

      Unless your brother in law is the one reading the Geiger counters, I suggest you leave for a few days with the kids until the tritium goes down.

    • alexa

      I live close to Pickering nuclear power station in Toronto and I usually feel when they dump some tritium in the water. This press release is pretty scary when adjusted for nuclear lies.

    • ConcernedMom,
      see the above post:
      January 30, 2012 at 7:14 pm
      Risks to Drinking Water for Illinois Nuclear Power Plants …

    • StillJill StillJill

      GREAT Mama! (Camper and bug-out bags ready!)
      How cool is that?!? 🙂

      +100

  • jdotg

    Don’t let the fear cloud your judgement.

    • Let the cloud fear your judgement instead? Wow.

    • Hey, you know, you live on this same planet as we do, I have family over there, and you are trying to lie about “safety” and “irrational fear”. Do you ever consider what it means to walk the same streets with those who you attempt to poison with lies?

    • Anthony Anthony

      *** said Dr. Sam Epstein, a medical doctor and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. “Any radiation from a nuclear plant in Illinois would increase the risk of cancer and other serious illnesses.”

      Radiation from a disaster like the one in Fukushima can contaminate drinking water and food supplies, as well as harm our health. But disaster or no disaster, a common leak at a nuclear power plant can also threaten the drinking water for millions of people. As our nuclear facilities get older, leaks are more common. In fact, 75 percent of U.S. nuclear plants have leaked tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen that can cause cancer and genetic defects.***

    • lokay5 lokay5

      Don’t let the fear of the tritiated steam cloud your judgement to get the hell outa there.

  • PoorDaddy PoorDaddy

    This is one sick-ass race to the next Fuku.

  • americancommntr

    Right. Nothing to worry about. Just a little bit of tritium, no risk to the public. Like the public should EVER believe anything a nuclear plant or the NRC says.

  • REPOST from another thread:
    enoughalready45
    January 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm · Reply
    Illinois…the most nuclear reactors and stored nuclear waste of any state in the USA.

    Chernobyl, Fukushima, Illinois?

  • MaryW MaryW

    @ConcernedMom Good for you, you are an informed Super Mom!:) I ,too, have been emailing my WI friends and family near Rockford. Sad thing is, I have to send links along, or they will for sure think I went over the nuke edge.
    Winds in Rockford IL, right now, are South @ 7 miles per hours. Earlier today winds were SSW.

  • So, shall we have tbs/jnn over to set up a foggy camera?

  • Can I rant and swear, why the eff did any radioactive steam have to vent if the backup generators started properly, and they were properly wired to the cooling systems and everything else that needed it.

    Makes no effen!!!!!!!!!!! sense!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Lies of nuke.

  • Anthony Anthony

    ***”This is an important study that underscores the dramatic risks nuclear plants pose to our health,” said Dr. Sam Epstein, a medical doctor and professor emeritus at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health. “Any radiation from a nuclear plant in Illinois would increase the risk of cancer and other serious illnesses.”

    Radiation from a disaster like the one in Fukushima can contaminate drinking water and food supplies, as well as harm our health. But disaster or no disaster, a common leak at a nuclear power plant can also threaten the drinking water for millions of people. As our nuclear facilities get older, leaks are more common. In fact, 75 percent of U.S. nuclear plants have leaked tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen that can cause cancer and genetic defects.***

  • HoTaters HoTaters

    “The public is in no danger.” The typical nuke industry/media mantra.

  • many moons

    Are we going to wait until a big eff chunk of our country is uninhabitable before we demand no nukes? What part will it be first…
    no more california…perhaps no more mid west…no more tenn/alabama no more nyc…what part of America will be eliminated forever.
    If this was another country threatening us we wouldn’t stand for it…we would defend our country…we do we permit these unseen unknown people with their nuclear plants to threaten our beloved country?

  • arclight arclight

    “The public is in no danger.”

  • arclight arclight

    “The public is in no danger.”

  • arclight arclight

    “The public is in no danger.”
    a rousing song from kazahkstan

  • How Safe Is Radioactive Tritium?

    Did You Know That 75% Of US Nuclear Plants Are Leaking Toxic Tritium Radiation Into Drinking Water Supply? Paul Gunter ~ Beyond Nuclear
    CLICK>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jo1Kqez3fUU

    Are Your State’s Nuclear Power Plants Leaking Radiation? Some Say It’s A Problem. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UO49lK65VDo

    Radioactive tritium used to be considered ‘harmless’ by nuclear experts, but recent research indicates that it may be much more hazardous to human health that previously believed. For example, an expert with the UK government at their Health Protection Agency (HPA) concludes that the cancer risk for people exposed to tritium (anyone living within 50 miles of any military/civilian nuclear facility) is actually twice as high as experts had previously thought. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12984-tritium-hazard-rating-should-be-doubled.html

    In a German government study, children living near nuclear plants have double the normal amount of leukemia rates, and a high incidence of solid cancers are being found. Bottom line, nuclear reactors cannot prevent dangerous radiation from escaping (VIDEO) October 22, 2011
    Source:
    http://enenews.com/german-govt-study-children-living-near-nuclear-reactors-have-double-leukemia-rates-high-incidence-of-solid-cancers-plants-cannot-prevent-radiation-from-escaping-video

    More on the Extreme Health Dangers Of Tritium are detailed in the following scientific research paper; http://www.nirs.org/factsheets/tritiumbasicinfo.pdf

    According to Wikipedia, Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. The National Institute of Standards and Technology lists the half life of Tritium as 12.3 years. Since it takes about ten times that amount of time to fully decay into something else, the total time is actually 123 years for it to decay fully. Tritium is potentially dangerous if inhaled or ingested.

  • many moons

    I wonder how long these generators can keep running and cooling two huge power plants????

  • stopnp stopnp

    I just shared this on facebook with my cousins names tagGed. They live right by the college of du page

  • many moons

    I hope this report in April 2011 doesn’t have anything to do with the need to vent…

    http://mystateline.com/fulltext-news?nxd_id=243806