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Monday, September 22, 2008

Fire shuts 1 unit at Michigan nuclear power plant

A small fire led to the shutdown of one of the two units at a nuclear power plant in southwestern Michigan, utility officials said today.

The fire happened Saturday night in a non-nuclear section of the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant and there was no release of radioactive material or other danger.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire wasn’t yet known.

American Electric Power Co. spokesman Bill Schalk said today the fire started in a turbine generator that uses steam to generate electricity.

The Cook plant is near Bridgman on Lake Michigan, about 180 miles west of Detroit. It generates about 6 percent of the utility’s power. Schalk said the company will use its coal-burning plants and possibly turn to other utilities to replace the electricity that would have been produced by the idled plant.

“The fact that Cook is out of service will have no effect on customers,” he said.

When operating at full power, the plant’s two units make enough power to serve about 1.5 million homes, Schalk said.

Unit 1 went online in 1975 and Unit 2 in 1978. In 2005, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory extended American Electric Power’s license to run Unit 1 until 2034 and Unit 2 until 2037.

The Columbus, Ohio-based utility generates the most electricity in the nation, serving about 5 million customers in 11 states.

(Source: Detroit Free Press)

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