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PENNSYLVANIA POWER & LIGHT: UNUSUAL EVENT DECLARED AT SUSQUEHANNA NUCLEAR PLANT

 PENNSYLVANIA POWER & LIGHT: UNUSUAL EVENT
 DECLARED AT SUSQUEHANNA NUCLEAR PLANT
 BERWICK, Pa., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- An "unusual event" was declared at the Susquehanna nuclear power plant near Berwick at 9 a.m. today, when a plant worker was injured and contaminated with radioactive material after a small explosion, the Pennsylvania Power & Light Co. (PP&L) announced today.
 An "unusual event" means a problem at the plant is in progress, or has occurred, that indicates a potential reduction in plant safety. There was no radioactive release. No danger to the public existed. The "unusual event" ended at 10:40 a.m.
 Herbert D. Woodeshick, PP&L's special assistant to the president for Susquehanna, said the explosion occurred in a recombiner, equipment that combines hydrogen and oxygen to make water. The equipment that combines hydrogen and oxygen to make water. The equipment is located in the basement of the plant's turbine building.
 He said a PP&L work crew was replacing part of the recombiner at the time. Apparently, sparks from a grinding wheel touched off a small hydrogen explosion.
 There was no fire, he said. The explosion did not affect any other part of the plant. There was no threat to the safety of the public.
 The injured employee, mechanic Vernon T. Whitmire, was taken to Berwick Hospital by the Shickshinny ambulance. He was decontaminated at the hospital, where he is being treated for first- and second-degree burns to the chest. He will stay in the hospital overnight for observation.
 A second employee, Construction helper Larry V. Kalnoskas, sustained minor injuries and was also taken to Berwick Hospital. Kalnoskas, who was not contaminated, was treated and released.
 "Susquehanna has three recombiners to serve its two generating units," Woodeshick explained. "There is one for each unit, plus a back- up that can be used for either unit when one is out of service. The event this morning occurred on the back-up unit."
 Both Susquehanna units continue to operate at full power.
 The Susquehanna plant, located about five miles north of Berwick in Luzerne County, is jointly owned by PP&L and Allegheny Electric Cooperative Inc.
 -0- 1/18/92
 /CONTACT: Herbert D. Woodeshick of Pennsylvania Power & Light, 717-759-2285/ CO: Pennsylvania Power & Light, Inc. ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:


TS/SO -- NYSA006 -- 1246 01/18/92 14:54 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 18, 1992
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