AUBURN – Nebraska Public Power District declared an unusual event at its Cooper Nuclear Station at 9:04 this morning.
The utility declared the emergency classification when site personnel discovered a hazardous gas environment in the basement of the plant. While investigating the gas, safety and plant personnel detected a fire within a pipe chase.
The station’s fire brigade extinguished the active fire at 9:51 a.m. but additional responders have been brought in to monitor the piping, assess any equipment damage, provide engineering support, and maintain a fire watch in the area until there is no long any potential for a fire to restart.
An NPPD press release says that at no time did plant conditions threaten public safety, and the plant remained stable and operating during the event.
A NOUE is defined as unusual events, minor in nature, which have occurred or are in progress which indicate a potential degradation in the level of station safety at the station. If placed on a scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being the least serious level of an emergency and 4 being the most serious level of an emergency, a NOUE would equal a 1.
In situations like this, plant personnel follow an emergency response plan and notify appropriate local, county, state, and federal agencies as part of their processes.
Cooper Nuclear Station is located three miles southeast of Brownville near the Missouri River. It is owned and operated by the Nebraska Public Power District, with headquarters in Columbus. More information will be provided as it becomes available.