Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Illinois nuclear plant shuts down after mysteriously losing power

A nuclear reactor at a northern Illinois plant shut down today after mysteriously losing power.

Officials from Exelon Nuclear and federal regulators confirmed Unit 2 at Byron Generating Station shut down around 10:18am, after losing power from an off-site source.

Officials at the power plant believe a failed piece of equipment at a switchyard could be at fault but the investigation is ongoing.

Exelon Nuclear officials say the switchyard is similar to a large substation that delivers power from the plant to the electrical grid. They said the investigation into the equipment failure is ongoing.

Diesel generators began supplying power to the plant equipment and operators began releasing steam from the non-nuclear side of the plant to reduce pressure and help cool the reactor, officials said.

Even though the turbine is not turning to produce electricity, 'you still need to cool the equipment.' said U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokeswoman Viktoria Mitlyng.

Releasing steam helps 'take away some of that energy still being produced by nuclear reaction but that doesn't have anywhere to go now.'

The steam contains low levels of radioactive tritium, but the levels are safe for workers and the public, federal and plant officials said. Read More