Static caused Pennsylvania nuke transformer outage

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PITTSBURGH (AP) - Static electricity caused an electrical transformer to fail during a record cold spell in January, prompting a reactor to shut down at a western Pennsylvania nuclear power plant.

The Beaver County Times ( ) reports that FirstEnergy Corp. and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission have agreed upon the cause of the problem at the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport, about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young says operating procedures for operating oil pumps in the transformer “did not provide proper guidance for operating those oil pumps at low temperatures.” That caused the static build up that led to the failure.

A polar vortex was pushing temperatures from the 20s down to the negative single digits when the transformer failed that afternoon, Jan. 6.


Information from: Beaver County Times,

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