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TRANSFORMER CATCHES FIRE AT N-PLANT

SHARE TRANSFORMER CATCHES FIRE AT N-PLANT

A nuclear plant's non-nuclear power transformer caught fire and burned 90 minutes before being brought under control early Tuesday, authorities said. No injuries were reported and the plant reactor shut down with no apparent danger to residents.

The fire at the Shearon Harris power plant was reported at 11:15 p.m. Monday after leaking hydrogen ignited the plant's main transformer, said Elizabeth Bean, spokeswoman for Carolina Power and Light Co., which operates the plant.The plant's nuclear reactor shut down automatically when the transformer fire started and the blaze did not threaten nuclear operations at the plant, Bean said.

The fire was brought under control by 12:45 a.m. Tuesday and customers were not affected, Bean said. The state Division of Emergency Management said the plant was declared under alert status but that no evacuations of nearby residents were ordered.

"The fire was located both in the transformer and the electrical leads going to the generator," Bean said. "Hydrogen is used to cool the generator. Leaking hydrogen ignited, and off-site help was requested."

The fire was declared out and the hydrogen leak was stopped at 2:45 a.m. Tuesday. The plant had been scheduled to shut down Oct. 21 for refueling, which will be done while the plant is down.