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V.C. Summer nuclear plant offline after malfunction causes fire, oil spill

  • Nov 23, 2021
Post & Courier

COLUMBIA - Dominion Energy has shut down its V.C. Summer nuclear power plant after a Nov. 15 malfunction caused a fire.

No plant workers were injured during the main transformer malfunction, and there is no danger to the public, Dominion Energy spokesman Darryl Huger said Nov. 17. A brief fire broke out during the malfunction and was put out by the plant's fire suppression systems and fire brigade personnel, he said.

"The cause of the failure is unknown, and an investigation is underway," Huger said.

The V.C. Summer plant serves about 250,000 customers. When asked how customers would be affected with V.C. Summer offline, Huger said Dominion Energy has other generation available when the plant isn't operating.

Dominion Energy wouldn't comment on when it expects the plant will return to operations, saying that is market-sensitive information. The V.C. Summer plant was at 0 percent power as of early Nov. 17, according to a power reactor status report from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The transformer malfunction occurred around 5:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at the plant, located about 30 miles north of Columbia in Fairfield County. That transformer sends power onto the grid from the station. The malfunction didn't affect the supply of offsite power to the station.

Dominion estimates between 10 and 15 gallons of oil leaked from the transformer into the Monticello Reservoir. Plant workers deployed absorbent booms and oil screens to contain and clean up the oil, Huger said.

Dominion notified the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission of the transformer malfunction in an event notification report, indicating the malfunction was unusual or substantial enough to warrant notification to regulators.

Dominion has also notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Response Center and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control about the mineral oil spill, according to an event report posted by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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