Electrical problem shuts down work at TA-21

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By John Severance

It’s been awfully quiet at TA-21 this week.
And it’s not because of the latest discovery last Friday when a 1940s-era truck was unearthed by an excavator working at the site.
Fred DeSousa of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Communications Department on Thursday morning confirmed there was a problem with the transformer on site.
“We didn’t have any electricity and we use that to run the air filtration system,” DeSousa said. “We can’t do any work inside the enclosures unless we have an air filtration system.”
DeSousa said the problem occurred Saturday afternoon when the winds were high.
“We don’t know for sure if the high winds caused the problem, but we had equipment failure in our high voltage supply.
“Some of the electrical systems powering the filtration systems need a certain type of power and there was damage to one of the systems.”
DeSousa said power has been restored to one of the four enclosures where excavation is being done.
“What we do when we resume operations is that we go through a step-by-step process and prove we can get the systems back up,” DeSousa said. “It’s a very methodical process.”
None of the businesses on DP Road had any interruption in power service.
DeSousa said what went out was the power that was supplying the work site.
“I am not an electrician but from what I understand, some of the equipment requires three-phase power delivery,” DeSousa said. “We lost one of the three phases. If that happens, the equipment will not work correctly.”
DeSousa said the high-voltage equipment is going through safety checks but he did not have a timetable for when all four enclosures would be back up and running.