Fire in Ascó I, a nuclear power plant in Spain

Actualizado a fecha: 2 December, 2018

Fires in nuclear power plants are extremely complex. We all remember the one that occurred in Fukushima caused by a tsunami, or many others like the one of Indian Point or Windscale. Now, a small fire in Ascó (Spain) has frightened the residents of this small town, where the nuclear power station Ascó I is located.

When the emergency occurred, the “Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) Emergency Response Organization was activated due to a fire lasting more than 10 minutes.” As stated by the CSN in an official statement, the facility “is stopped in its program to stop recharging and the progress to discharge the fuel started.”

Causes of the Fire in Ascó I

The fire in Ascó I occurred “due to the water spill on the switches of a normal power supply bar during the recharging works on the turbine building.” The incident, adds the CSN, “is not a radiological hazard”, although “there has been a loss of energy and the emergency diesel generator has started to work well ”

What can we do to prevent such fires in nuclear power plants?

The safety measures that guarantee the use of the nuclear power plants will have as a main objective the reduction of the probability of an accident occurring and, in case of that accident, the mitigation of the consequences by maintaining two vital functions:

– Nuclear reaction control

– Reactor cooling

That is why, along with other passive and intrinsic measures, the security systems must respond to the unavailability and possible failures of the main systems, as well as to emergency situations that may occur in the operation and functioning of the nuclear power plant.