by Paula C. Squires
Dominion Virginia Power shut down one of two nuclear reactors at Surry Power Station on Monday after cooling ducts showed indications of overheating. The ducts, said company spokesman Rick Zuercher, cool electrical conductors that provide power to the station’s main transformers.
Surry Unit 2 had just come back online three days before on June 17, following two months of routine maintenance and refueling. Power to both nuclear units at Surry in Surry County was knocked out on April 16 when a tornado hit the power station’s switchyard. While Dominion was able to restore power to the plant by the next day and Unit 1 has been operating, company spokesman Jim Norvelle said Unit 2 was not brought back on line because of the scheduled maintenance.
Zuercher said Dominion is working to repair the cooling ducts but could not say when power might be restored.
While work was being done on Surry’s turbine generator during the refueling, asbestos was discovered on some of the equipment. While Dominion said the levels did not exceed accepted standards, the state Department of Labor and Industry is investigating a claim of asbestos exposure.
The Surry Power Station units, which began operating in 1972 and 1973, provide 1,598 megawatts of power, or enough electricity for about 400,000 homes. Surry Unit I has 21 years of life remaining on a renewed license, and Unit 2 has 22 years left on its renewed license.
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