OWEN SOUND, Ont.—Ontario nuclear operator Bruce Power has been fined $110,000 for a worker injury at its generating station on Lake Huron.
The incident happened in February of last year and involved a team of workers doing maintenance on a rotor in one of the nuclear plant’s generators.
According to a Ministry of Labour investigation, workers were drilling a hole in the No. 8 Generator so they could remove a bore plug. As the workers were completing the hole, however, flames spewed out of the generator and injured a worker.
“The generator uses hydrogen gas as a cooling medium and a mixture of hydrogen and air was created as the compressed hydrogen escaped through the freshly-drilled hole,” the Ministry of Labour said in a statement. “The mixture of hydrogen and air was within the flammable range for hydrogen and came into contact with mulitiple ignition sources capable of igniting the mixture, such as the motor of the drill or a work light.”
While the generator’s manufacturer recommends the rotor core be purged of hydrogen before the bore plug is removed, the maintenance team was not aware of this. As a result, the court found Bruce Power contravened Ontario’s health and safety act by failing to acquaint a worker with a possible hazard.