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Officials investigating Illinois reactor shutdown

Posted by wlpo on January 31, 2012

CHICAGO (AP) – Exelon Energy officials say they’ve traced a power failure at a nuclear reactor in northern Illinois to an electrical insulator in a switchyard.

Spokesman Paul Dempsey says the insulator failed and fell off Monday morning, causing one of the reactors at the Byron Generating Station to shut down automatically.

He says the bad insulator will be sent to a lab for analysis and officials hope to replace it by Tuesday evening. It’s unclear how soon before the reactor could return to service.

Steam containing low levels of tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen, is being vented to reduce pressure within the reactor. But federal and plant officials say the levels are safe for workers and the public.

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