NEWPORT, Mich. - All's well now at DTE Energy Co.'s Fermi 2 nuclear power plant northeast of Monroe.
The utility is reveling in the calm after the storm that spurred at least one tornado this month.
DTE spokesman Guy Cerullo said a rapidly deployed cleanup has been completed, and Fermi 2's nuclear reactor was restarted about 2 a.m. yesterday.
The plant was expected to provide electricity to the regional grid late last night or early this morning, once the reactor reached 20 percent to 25 percent power.
Within days, the reactor should be back to full power, Mr. Cerullo said.
The storm caused heavy structural damage across the Fermi nuclear complex, although DTE said the nuclear reactor was not compromised.
Mr. Cerullo said the situation was a classic example of how safety systems should work: Once the plant lost one of its two sources of electricity off-site at 2:38 a.m. June 6, the reactor automatically shut itself down.
Emergency diesel generators - important but little-used devices that nuclear plants rely on to get them through rare events when they lose power themselves - kicked on for supplemental power, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's Midwest regional office in Lisle, Ill.
"The plant operated exactly as designed during the shutdown and is in a safe, stable condition," DTE said in a news release issued that day.
The regulatory agency confirmed that in a statement issued later the same day.
The agency also said there was no evidence of compromised safety equipment.
"Plant equipment functioned as designed," the agency said.
The utility learned later that high winds had created a 20-foot-by-30-foot hole in the roof of the plant's turbine building, a structure adjacent to the nuclear-reactor containment building.
The turbine building's entire roof was replaced, Mr. Cerullo said.
Siding on an auxiliary building tore off. Portions of the cooling tower were damaged.
The utility brought in 400 outside workers to get the complex back into shape, Mr. Cerullo said.
Hundreds of truckloads of debris, mostly limbs from fallen trees, were removed. In the vicinity of the cooling tower alone, 150 truckloads were removed, he said.
Fermi 2's next scheduled outage is planned for this fall, when a third of the plant's reactor is to be refueled.
Such refuelings occur at each of America's 104 nuclear plants once every 18 months to two years.
The plant is along Lake Erie 30 miles north of Toledo.
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