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Fire at Third Nuclear Power Plant slows one reactor

Fire at Third Nuclear Power Plant slows one reactor

White smoke billowed from the 3rd Nuclear Power Plant in Hengchun early Monday as a fire in a transformer knocked one of the plant’s two reactors off line briefly. The plant’s fire brigade quickly extinguished the fire, but power output was limited as engineers and technicians worked to replace damaged sections of the plant’s power transmission system.

The incident marks the fourth time a fire has resulted in the release of smoke from the plant. A cooling water pump shut down instantly when the fire broke out and power was automatically shifted to a backup external power supply unit. The reactor was powered down, and engineers set about removing and replacing a 13.8kv power cable unit and a 6-meter-long power bus in the transmission unit.

Power output from the plant was reduced by 7.29% with the accident, resulting in a ‘yellow light’ for power supply to the electrical grid.

Lin Teh-fu, a spokesman for Taipower’s Nuclear Power Operations, said Monday that the 3rd Nuclear Power Plant’s auxiliary transformer for the 2nd Reactor Unit experienced a sudden breakdown and fire about an hour after midnight. The fire was extinguished within 17 minutes and the 2nd Reactor was brought to an emergency stop. There was no evacuation, the fire had nothing to do with the nuclear reactor units, and there was no danger of radiation leakage at any time.

Lin explained that the fire occurred in an outdoor power distribution unit which transforms voltage from 345KV to 161KV 345KV, He added that while the supply situation at the plant is "okay", if the weather is hot, the reserve transfer capacity rate may drop to 6%, which would put power supply into the red alert zone.

Atomic Energy Council (AEC) spokesman Chou Yuan-ching said Monday that Taipower had notified the council of the fire. Chou said similar incidents have occurred at other nuclear power plants in the past, and the AEC has asked Taipower to conduct a complete investigation and explain the cause of the fire and any subsequent changes in procedure to be made. He said there was no timetable for the report.

Updated : 2021-09-18 00:22 GMT+08:00