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No one hurt in fire at TVA’s Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant

April 4, 2022 GMT

ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — A fire that began in a turbine building at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in north Alabama was extinguished by a Tennessee Valley Authority crew without any injuries, the utility said Monday.

The blaze, which started Saturday afternoon, occurred at the plant’s Unit 3 in the oil system of a water pump, according to a report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Fire crews at the plant, located on the bank of the Tennessee River near Athens, didn’t need assistance from outside departments and there weren’t any reports of injuries.

While a federal report showed the fire began at 1:30 p.m. and was extinguished 30 minutes later, a TVA spokesman said that included time lags in reporting and the blaze was extinguished immediately.

The fire happened in a section of the building away from the nuclear reactor. When operating normally, heat from the nuclear reactor turns water into steam, which is then used to drive turbines that generate electricity.

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Browns Ferry has a troubled history that includes at least two much more serious blazes. A worker using a candle set off a fire that crippled the plant’s safety system in 1975 in what was considered the nation’s worst nuclear accidents at the time, and flames destroyed a cooling tower outside the main plant building in 1986.