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Fire shuts down nuclear power plant

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A small fire caused a nuclear power plant to shut down yesterday in Newport, Michigan. There was no release of radiation and no one was hurt during the incident. The public was never in any danger. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) will review the circumstances surrounding the incident.

An Alert was declared at 2:05 p.m. EDT Thursday, 20 March at the Fermi Nuclear Generation Plant due to a small fire near the turbocharger of a diesel generator. The fire was extinguished and the Alert was terminated at 3:32 p.m. The plant is currently shut down for a refueling outage and is in a stable condition, according to the NRC.

Plant workers noticed the fire near the turbocharger and were able to quickly extinguish the small fire. PennEnergy is reporting that the fire was on the insulation of one of the diesel generators. According to PennEnergy, the plant has actually been shut down since 10 February for scheduled refueling and maintenance and the generator was being used as part of the testing.

There are four of the emergency diesel generators at Fermi. Only the one was affected. Fermi is a single-unit plant is operated by DTE Energy.

The NRC oversees 104 commercial nuclear power reactors in 31 states at 65 different sites. It also reviews the emergency preparedness procedures and training. Local emergency management staff are trained to handle hazmat, radiology and civil confusion that might arise in the event of an emergency.

You will be notified via the Emergency Alert System (EAS) if there were a Significant Occurrence. The EAS will include information about the severity of the situation and, if applicable, instructions to either evacuate or sequester in place.

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