The investigation of a nuclear power plant shutdown this week in northern Illinois includes the collection of water and vegetation samples. Illinois Emergency Management Agency director Jonathon Monken says the cause of Monday’s shutdown was a power failure ninety miles from the Byron Nuclear Power Plant.
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“Each of the nuclear power stations relies, ironically enough, on external power to fund their fundamental systems,” says Monken. The transformer being tripped “automatically caused one of the nuclear reactors to go into automatic shutdown.” Monken says the situation is being monitored at both Byron and at IEMA headquarters in Springfield. He says there is no evidence of radioactivity anywhere near the maximum considered “safe.” The incident is classified as an Unusual Event, the least severe of four designations; the others are Alert, Site Area Emergency, and General Emergency.