Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Energy

Fermi 2 nuclear power plant offline after malfunction

NEWPORT, Mich. — DTE Energy’s Fermi 2 nuclear plant is still offline following an unplanned shutdown Saturday morning that activated automatic safety systems when a plant transformer malfunctioned.

John Austerberry, DTE spokesman, said the utility was still looking for the root cause as of Wednesday night.

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A plant transformer malfunction took the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant offline Saturday morning.

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The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which confirmed that automatic safety systems worked seamlessly, is monitoring the situation.

The shutdown occurred at 10:40 a.m. Saturday. 

“The plant remains in a safe, stable condition,” Mr. Austerberry said. “There was never any risk to plant personnel or the public.”

Prema Chandrathil, NRC spokesman, also said she learned from the agency’s resident inspector the event did not pose a risk to the public or employees.

The affected transformer is offsite and provides power to several safety and non-safety systems. The safety-related systems were powered by emergency diesel generators that automatically kicked on, Ms. Chandrathil said.

“The non-safety systems experienced a loss of power, which caused a loss of power to pumps and a subsequent reduction in feedwater flow,” she said. “The reactor protection system sensed this and automatically shut down the plant as designed.”

Fermi 2 had gone 359 consecutive days of operation before the reactor was automatically scrammed, Mr. Austerberry said.

The state of Michigan was notified, the NRC said.

The plant is in northern Monroe County, along western Lake Erie and about 30 miles north of Toledo.

Contact Tom Henry at thenry@theblade.com, 419-724-6079, or via Twitter @ecowriterohio.

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