A fire has broken out at the Tianwan nuclear power station in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province on 26 August 2008, forcing the No.1 reactor to shut down. The Chinese authority confirmed that all safety systems worked correctly and there was no radioactive leakage detected.
According to Chinese media reports, the fire broke out at the No.1 reactor at 17:32 local time. A total of 14 fire engines and 66 firefighters were called to the site. The fire was under control by 18:30 and was completely extinguished by 22:30. A firefighter was injured in the accident.
It was reported that the fire was caused by a malfunction on an electricity transformer at the No.1 reactor. The Ukraine-made transformer was completely destroyed in the fire. The reactor itself had shut down automatically by the safety system. The owner of the power station confirmed that the fire did not cause any damage to the reactor and there was no radioactivity involved.
Although the fire was described by the Chinese authority as a ‘minor incident’, it still causes concerns over the safety of China’s nuclear power stations. A source within the Chinese nuclear industry confirmed that at least five reactor shutdowns occurred in Chinese nuclear power stations across the country within the past 12 months.
The two reactors at the Tianwan nuclear power station are the largest nuclear reactors ever built in China. The two Russian-built VVER-91 pressurised water reactors each has outputs of 1,060MW. The fire took place only 15 months after the power station began commercial operations.
The incident came just weeks before the Beijing Olympic Games and was not reported until the late September, almost a month after it took place. It is not known whether the reactor has resumed operations.