BRACEVILLE, Ill. - Braidwood Nuclear Generating Station Units 1 and 2 automatically shut down early this morning. Plant technical experts are working to determine the cause.
The automatic shutdowns occurred with all plant equipment operating as designed. The shutdowns resulted in steam release that may have been audible to people near the plant. Environmental experts are testing condensate and water in the system for tritium. Levels normally found in this system are a fraction of a percent of regulatory limits for airborne releases, which are part of normal plant operations.
Plant personnel notified local and regulatory authorities of the shutdown Monday morning. The shutdowns posed no threat to the health or safety of the public or plant personnel.
The Unit 2 turbine tripped off line about 2:06 a.m., followed 13 minutes later by a shutdown of the Unit 1 reactor.
"As this happened overnight, we understand our neighbors may have heard the venting steam and we want to make sure they know there is no cause for concern," said Braidwood Station Site Vice President Amir Shahkarami. "We appreciate their patience."
Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen with a weak level of radioactivity. It is formed naturally in the upper atmosphere, is a component of rain and is found in virtually all or earth's surface water. Tritium is produced in greater concentrations in commercial nuclear reactors.
Braidwood Generating Station is approximately 60 miles southwest of Chicago. The station's two nuclear energy units can produce a total of more than 2,300 megawatts net at full power - enough electricity to power more than 2 million homes.