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No public threat after fire at nuclear station in South Carolina, operator says

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Posted at 5:27 PM, Mar 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-06 19:27:37-05
By Mariano Castillo and Jeffrey Acevedo

CNN

(CNN) — A nuclear power station in South Carolina issued an alert after a fire caused an equipment failure Sunday, but it poses no danger to the public, Duke Energy said.

A transformer caught fire at the Duke Energy-operated Oconee Nuclear Station, located near Seneca in South Carolina’s mountainous northwest corner.

The company initially labeled the incident an “unusual event,” the lowest of four nuclear emergency classifications. The incident was upgraded to an “alert” after the fire damaged a power line that resulted in an equipment malfunction, Duke Energy said.

An “alert” means that emergency response agencies must be put in a “heightened state of readiness,” though no threat is posed to public safety.

The fire, which happened at the nuclear station’s switch yard, has been extinguished, the company said.

One of the nuclear station’s units has been shut down, and two others are operating as normal. The cause of the fire is under investigation, Duke Energy said.

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