Byron NPP Outage Update – New Details, Still No Power

Still no offsite power by 6am CST at the Byron nuclear power plant that lost power early yesterday. Officials are blaming something in the switchyard but no specific equipment or cause has been cited yet. The unit 2 reactor continues to run on its emergency diesel generator. Our team has been researching the plant trying to pinpoint equipment and potential causes. Byron has had previous issues with their offsite electrical system and have been cited repeatedly by the NRC.

Byron is served by 3 incoming power sources, what piece or pieces of equipment failed. In 2000 Byron had similar problems with the offsite power system including a loss of offsite power. The redundant systems and incoming lines are supposed to prevent a total loss of offisite power, yet at Byron it appears to have been an ongoing problem.  Byron has a long list of low level warnings from the NRC including many in the last year.

The plant is currently running fuel assemblies with a newer type of cladding called Axiom that requires special permission from the NRC. In 2001 Byron was given a power uprate. In 1984 Byron was the first nuclear plant to be flatly refused an operating license. This was the only time in NRC’s history at the time of ever doing this citing non-compliance and quality issues. What caused the NRC to eventually change their mind and allow Byron to operate is not clear.

For more information on tritium in the environment and how it is created by nuclear reactors check these sources:  EPA – ACMELA (tritium & reactors)

Simplified illustration of the cooling loops of a PWR reactor similar to Byron

Byron Switchyard

Offsite power schematic for Byron

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