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Seabrook Nuclear Plant -- fire broke out in one of its building

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03/29/2011 01:51 AM
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Seabrook Nuclear Plant -- fire broke out in one of its building
The Seabrook nuclear power plant declared an "unusual event" today after an electrical transformer overheated, officials said. The announcement was made at 11:43 a.m. in response to an incident involving a transformer attached to an elevator that overheated and began to smoke, according to Sarah Gebo, spokesman for Seabrook Station. The plant was required to declare an "unusual event" - the lowest level of emergency classification used by nuclear plants - because the smoke could not be stopped within 15 minutes. The incident occurred in a support building and not in a reactor. Gebo said there was no fire. The plant's on-site fire brigade was able to "de-energize" the component to stop the smoke, Gebo said. The Seabrook Fire Department was on standby but did not have to respond to the incident, officials said. "People followed their procedures exactly as designed," Gebo said. No one was injured and no evacuations were needed, Gebo said, adding that the plant continues to operate.

The "unusual event" declaration ended by 12:43 p.m. Gebo said this is the sixth time the plant has declared an "unusual event" since it went online in 1990. The plant notified the appropriate agencies as soon as the declaration was made, Gebo said. As part of the notification process, dispatchers at the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department contacted local police departments and other emergency officials. The procedures were similar to those followed during the power plant’s numerous emergency drills over the years. If the incident was more serious, fire departments would have been asked to respond. “It was under control quite quickly,” said Seabrook Emergency Management Director Joseph Titone, whose department was notified about the incident at 11:54 a.m. After receiving notification, Titone said he informed several other officials, including public works officials and the town manager. “The notification list parallels a chain of command. We actually have a lot of exercises that come in handy when something like this happens,” he said. Hampton Fire Chief Chris Silver said his department also wasn’t required to take action. “In this case it was only an unusual event. For us locally that means we’re notified, given info about the incident, and that’s about it,” he said.

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