Small oil fire at Grand Gulf cuts capacity

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grand Gulf Nuclear Station was operating at 87 percent this morning as crews worked to repair an oil leak blamed for a small fire at the plant Monday.

The fire started at about 9:25 a.m. in feedwater pump B turbine, part of the main turbine, when an oil-saturated piece of insulation ignited, said site spokesman Jami Cameron. The facility’s fire brigade had the fire under control by 11:34 a.m., and no injuries were reported, Cameron said.

The main turbine was not damaged, Cameron said. Findings completed by mid-morning showed oil seeped into the insulation, causing the ignition, Cameron said. The insulation has since been replaced by a type that is more flame-resistant, Cameron said.

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A refueling had been completed recently, Cameron said, but a specific source of the oil could not be confirmed.

“The public was not in any harm. This was a very minor fire. We’re ramping up to 100 percent power,” Cameron said.

The event triggered the lowest of the plant’s four emergency levels, Cameron said, and 530 of the plant’s 550 employees were at work this morning.

Grand Gulf, a boiling water reactor, was completed in 1985. Regulatory processes to build a second reactor are under way, with preliminary environmental reviews expected by May. Final drafts of environmental studies are expected by May 2010.

The plant site is on the Mississippi River about 24 miles southwest of Vicksburg. It is the only nuclear plant in Mississippi.


Contact Danny Barrett Jr. at