Transformer fire forces TVA to shut down Unit 2 reactor indefinitely

TVA probes cause of switchyard fire at Watts Bar Tuesday night

The TVA Watts Bar Nuclear Plant is photographed on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015, near Spring City, Tenn.

The Tennessee Valley Authority today is trying to determine the cause of a fire in the switchyard of its Watts Bar Nuclear Power Plant that started around 9:11 p.m. Tuesday night and took TVA fire crews about an hour to extinguish.

The blaze in one of the main bank transformers connected to the new Unit 2 reactor triggered notice of "an unusual event" - the lowest of four emergency classifications for problems at a nuclear power plant. Although the fire did not affect any nuclear or generation equipment in either the reactor or turbine buildings at Watts Bar, it did damage a transformer and required TVA to shut down its Unit 2 reactor indefinitely, TVA spokesman Jim Hopson said today.

"Nobody was injured and there was no risk the the public from the fire, but we are still evaluating the cause and assessing the damage," Hopson said.