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Yesterday this blog reported a possible fire on August 23rd at Vogtle Nuclear Power Station, as seen on the USDA Forestry web site. No “event” has been reported yet by the US NRC, nor by the media. This does not mean that nothing happened, however. It could have happened and be reported later, or not at all. What other “events” have occurred at Vogtle that could look similar to the possible fire on Tuesday?
Vogtle Nuclear PS Possible Fire NASA 23 Aug. 2016
NASA location, which is the same as given on the USDA site. Links in yesterday’s post: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/possible-fire-at-vogtle-nuclear-power-station-on-the-savannah-river-in-georgia-usa-23-aug-2016/

On the 20th of December 2010 at Vogtle Nuclear Power Station:
Smoke and sparks were identified as coming from a level 4 Control Building Normal Fuel Handling Building HVAC Heater Control Panel. The heater control panel was deenergized. The fire team was dispatched. The fire was contained in the heater control panel. Smoke removal is in progress.” http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2010/20101221en.html (This did not show up on the historic USDA forest fire maps. However, it does not seem to have made it to the level of a fire and apparently was not detected.)

On March 20, 1990, a truck driver accompanied by a security escort entered the protected area with the site’s fuel-and-lubricants truck at Vogtle… the driver backed the truck (rear view blocked) into a support pole for a 230-kV feeder line causing a phase-to-ground electrical fault and the loss of vital ac power. The damage caused by the truck could have been more severe if electrical arcing had ignited the fuel on the truck. Additional damage that could have resulted from a fire or explosion would have further complicated recovery from the incident..
http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/info-notices/1990/in90025s1.html
And, then the Emergency Backup Diesel Generator would not startbut eventually they got it started. If not, it could have been Chernobyl on the Savannah River. A former high level manager has sworn that problems with the Emergency Generators were known.

Facility: VOGTLE Region: 2 State: GA
Unit: [1] [ ] [ ]
RX Type: [1] W-4-LP,[2] W-4-LP
NRC Notified By: HANS BISHOP HQ OPS Officer: PETE SNYDER
Notification Date: 12/20/2010 Notification Time: 01:09 [ET]
Event Date: 12/20/2010 Event Time: 00:21 [EST]
Last Update Date: 12/20/2010 Emergency Class: UNUSUAL EVENT
10 CFR Section: 50.72(a) (1) (i) – EMERGENCY DECLARED
Person (Organization): JAY HENSON (R2DO) LUIS REYES (R2)
MICHELE EVANS (NRR) BRUCE BOGER (NRR)
JEFFERY GRANT (IRD) CHIP STRANGFELD (DHS) STEPHEN HOLLIS (FEMA)
Unit 1
SCRAM Code N
RX CRIT Y
Initial PWR 100
Initial RX Mode Power Operation
Current PWR 100
Current RX Mode Power Operation
Event Text
FIRE IN FUEL HANDLING BUILDING HVAC PANEL
“Smoke and sparks were identified as coming from a level 4 Control Building Normal Fuel Handling Building HVAC Heater Control Panel. The heater control panel was deenergized. The fire team was dispatched. The fire was contained in the heater control panel. Smoke removal is in progress.”

The licensee notified the NRC Resident Inspector.
* * * UPDATE FROM HANS BISHOP TO PETE SNYDER AT 0219 EST ON 12/20/10 * * *
At 0218 the licensee terminated the Notice of Unusual Event.
Notified R2DO (Henson), NRR EO (Evans), DHS (Strangfeld), and FEMA (Hollis).

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2010/20101221en.html

Did the above fire have to do with defective (Swiss-Swedish) ABB Breakers? (ABB continues to have breaker problems: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/defective-abb-breakers-for-nuclear-power-stations-substantial-safety-hazard/ ) The US NRC allows months, years, or an eternity (aka “exemptions”) for facilities to follow the rules, and recommendations appear to be simply that. And, in fact, they were merely told to “evaluate” :
POTENTIAL FAILURE OF A BREAKER COMPONENT TO COMPLY WITH DESIGN SPECIFICATIONS

The following information was received via facsimile:

A breaker failed during operation at Plant Vogtle during operation. A failure analysis indicated that the resistors on the electronic board fail to an open circuit status. On January 14, 2010, a failure analysis indicated that the resistors fail to a short circuit status prior to failing open. In this failure mode, the internal temperature increases to a point where the plastic core melts and thereby can potentially block the operation of the internal plunger. In such a case, the breaker remains closed, but if the breaker is opened then a new closing command is not possible.

ABB is taking, or has taken, the following corrective actions:

A. As noted above, the only affected customer with a failed breaker is Southern Company’s Nuclear Plant Vogtle, and ABB has discussed this issue with Southern Company. An interim report was issued on 1-18-2010. B. As an interim solution, ABB will provide a standard close coil. This solution will be limited to applications that do not require the low impendence in the close coil for lamp applications. C. An alternate solution is to add ‘b’ contact (normally closed) in series with the existing close coil.

While not having a history of failure, it is noted that similar breakers are used at Plant Hatch.

Given the large number of applications for the affected circuit breakers, ABB (Medium Voltage Service) cannot determine if the potential for a substantial safety hazard exists at any licensee’s facility if a similar failure of the close coil occurs. As noted above, the failure has been limited to applications that require continuous close coil duty. No failures have been reported or produced in testing in applications with intermittent use of close coil duty. Licensees are requested to evaluate the application of affected breakers to determine priority of close coil replacementhttp://www.nrc.gov/docs/ML1005/ML100512906.pdf THEY WERE ONLY “REQUESTED TO EVALUATE” BREAKER USE “TO DETERMINE PRIORITY OF CLOSE COIL REPLACEMENT”!

Swedish Swiss ABB appears to still produce defective breakers: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/defective-abb-breakers-for-nuclear-power-stations-substantial-safety-hazard/ The Swedish Swiss ABB certainly deserves to be dissed. They are good candidates for being sent to dig a tunnel hunting for the lost Fukushima coriums. Maybe future workers will then take their jobs seriously.

Truck Backs Into Switchyard Pole, Causing Power Outage; Could have Caught Fire; Emergency Generator Fails to Start

On March 20, 1990, a truck driver accompanied by a security escort entered the protected area with the site’s fuel-and-lubricants truck at Vogtle. The driver was scheduled to refuel air compressors and welding machines located around the site during the Unit 1 outage. The truck was driven into the Unit 1 switchyard to fuel a welding machine. Upon determining that the welding machine did not need fuel, the driver backed the truck (rear view blocked) into a support pole for a 230-kV feeder line causing a phase-to-ground electrical fault and the loss of vital ac power.

The damage caused by the truck could have been more severe if electrical arcing had ignited the fuel on the truck. Additional damage that could have resulted from a fire or explosion would have further complicated recovery from the incidentThe incident at Vogtle led to a loss of power to the only transformer supplying offsite power to the Unit 1 safety buses. The only available emergency diesel generator then started and tripped, cutting off all power to the safety buses.”
https://web.archive.org/web/20150918230836/http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/gen-comm/info-notices/1990/in90025s1.html

Emergency Generator Problems Allegedly Known

Small excerpts from US Senate Hearings: “During the emergency, the I-A diesel generator would not work properly. It could not be started until 36 minutes after the start of the emergency…. On March 20, as you indicated, Vogtle had the site area emergency. That was the very accident that I had feared in my written correspondence with the NRG earlier. A major accident. A total blackout of all safety-related electrical power at mid-loop—only one-third ofthe volume present in the reactor. Had that not been mitigated and given the plant conditions of a breached reactor vessel and a breached containment, that would have led to an accident within, in my judgment, approximately 10 hours that would have been far worse than Three Mile Island, and perhaps a hair less than Chernobyl. There would have been major off-site consequences because the radioactivity would have left the containment through a 20-foot diameter hatch. As bad as the site area emergency was, what I learned after that was even worse. The problems that caused the failure of the diesel generator has been known about for years. This is what I had learned. These problems had not been related to the NRC and the required reporting mechanisms. Then Georgia Power submitted false statements to the NRC to gain permission to start the plant back up. They had been under an order ofshut-down to not resume power operations.
Senator LiEBERMAN. This shut-down order was for refueling, or was it because of the
Mr. MOSBAUGH. The plant was already down when the accident occurred, so the shut-down order said, “You may not resume power operations until you convince us that these diesel generators are reliable.”
Senator Lieberman. Right. Again, the purpose of the diesel generator?
Mr. Mosbaugh: The diesel generator—a plant is designed to lose its off-site power—a tornado, lightning strikes. Upon the loss of that, the diesel generators must supply the electricity for all the safety-related equipment. The plant runs on electricity
.”
HEARING BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON CLEAN AIR AND NUCLEAR REGULATION OF THE COMMITTEE ON ENVIRONMENT AND PUBLIC WORKS UNITED STATES SENATE ONE HUNDRED THIRD CONGRESS FIRST SESSION JULY 15, 1993 Printed for the use of the Committee on Environment and Public Works https://ia800204.us.archive.org/22/items/whistlebloweriss00unit/whistlebloweriss00unit.pdf

Construction Worker Vogtle Construction Site on Drugs
June 7 2016 Vogtle Fitness for Duty Failure Construction
Nuclear Event 20 Dec. 2010 Vogtle Nuclear HVAC fuel handling fire

Location for Vogtle exported from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vogtle_Electric_Generating_Plant