August 5, 2009 in Region

Small fire shuts down Tri-Cities nuclear plant

Crews quickly extinguished blaze caused by electrical fault
Associated Press

RICHLAND — An electrical fault sparked a small fire at the region’s only commercial nuclear power plant, which automatically shut itself down.

Columbia Generating Station’s onsite fire crews extinguished the fire within 20 minutes Wednesday morning. An investigation into the cause continues.

Energy Northwest, the public power consortium that operates the plant, said the fire is believed to have started in an overhead tray that holds electrical cables in a separate building from the reactor building.

The utility said in a statement that the plant’s control room instrumentation indicated the location of the fire and that safety systems operated as designed.

The plant will remain offline until the investigation and repairs are complete.

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