Explosion at Callaway nuclear plant injures three people

Justin Abraham, Meteorologist & Digital Content Director, justina@kmiz.com
Gigi Mann, Reporter, gigim@kmiz.com
POSTED: 08:36 PM CDT Apr 02, 2013    UPDATED: 12:09 AM CDT Apr 04, 2013 
Callaway nuclear power plant
FULTON, Mo. -

An explosion at the Callaway nuclear power plant injured three people Tuesday afternoon.

Emergency officials confirm an electrical explosion happened around 5 p.m., but the cause is still under investigation.

Ameren Missouri said in a written statement that an electrical flash occurred in the switch yard area.

Company communications director Rita Holmes-Bobo said Wednesday that the electrical flash produced an intense burst of heat that harmed three employees in an area that distributes power from the Callaway Energy Center.

The St. Louis-based power company said that the incident did not affect the operations of the nuclear plant, which it said continues to function safely.

According to the company's website, Ameren generates 11 percent of Missouri's electricity at the Callaway plant. 

Ameren said it was not providing details about the status of the injured workers out of respect for their privacy, but released the following statement:

On Tuesday, an incident involving an electrical flash occurred in the Callaway Energy Center switch yard (a distribution point for power outside the protected area). Operations have not been impacted by the incident and the facility continues to operate safely. Three workers were injured and transported to local hospitals. The cause of the incident is being investigated. Our first concern is for the well-being of our co-workers. Out of respect for the privacy of the workers and their families, we are not providing details of their status.

Callaway County Emergency Management Director Michelle Kidwell said the 911 call reported burn victims, including two with burns to the face.

One person was flown to University Hospital in Columbia, however the extent of their injuries is still unknown.

South Callaway Fire, Callaway Ambulance and the plant's emergency staff responded to the explosion.

South Callaway Fire Protection District Fire Chief Jeff Waldendorff said this was the first time in 22 years his firefighters responded to an emergency at the plant.

Chief Waldendorff said Wednesday the firefighters helped set up a landing area for the helicopter, but did not see nor put out any fires. 

Stay with ABC 17 News and abc17news.com for more on this developing story.