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June 13, 2012

Minor chemical spill leads to 'unusual event' at nuclear plant

SEABROOK — NextEra Energy Seabrook nuclear power plant declared an "unusual event" today at around 1:45 p.m. when the spill of an ammonia-based cleaning fluid caused the evacuation of the first floor of the administration building.

The administrative building is located near the nuclear reactor, but is not directly connected to it. All of the nuclear reaction functions take place within a contained building..

The “unusual event” is the lowest of four levels of emergency classification used by the NRC. It was due to a spill of less than a gallon of ammonia hydroxide (cleaning liquid) in a stock room. The fumes led to the evacuation of the building’s first floor. The plant is currently cleaning up the liquid and venting the first floor.


According to Nuclear Regulatory Commission Region 1 Spokesman Neil Sheehan, the incident caused no danger to the public, no injuries and had no impact of the safe functioning of the nuclear power plant. However, because the spill happened within the protected area of Seabrook Station’s campus, Sheehan said, NextEra was required to call the NRC making the declaration of an unusual event.

Sheehan added that to the NRC it does not appear to be a significant event.

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