Transformer explosion, fire shuts down nuclear reactor in Arkansas

NRC monitors conditions at the Arkansas Nuclear One power plant following an early morning transformer explosion and subsequent fire at the facility.

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has activated its incident response center in Arlington, Texas, following an Unusual Event filing at the Arkansas Nuclear One (ANO) power plant. Located in Russellville, Arkansas, ANO is a dual unit nuclear power facility owned and operated by Entergy (NYSE: ETR).

According to the NRC, operators at ANO declared an Unusual Event early Monday morning (12/09) after a transformer exploded in an electrical switchyard servicing Unit 2.  As designed, the interruption of electrical power triggered protective systems to shut down the reactor.

The explosion resulted in a fire at the switchyard, which Entergy said was quickly contained. The company also said there were no injuries or threats to public safety.  

NRC lists plant conditions at ANO as stable, with power being supplied to Unit 2 by an emergency diesel generator and one source of offsite power.

Unit 2 will remain offline while the cause of the explosion is investigated and damages are assessed. There has been no interruption to power to the Unit 1 reactor, which remains online operating at about 95 percent power.

The NRC’s senior resident inspector assigned to the site is inside the plant’s control room monitoring the licensee’s response to the event.

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