Lakeland -- A flaw that was built into the Lakeland Electric's McIntosh, Unit 3 power plant 34 years ago could cause the plant to close if it costs too much to fix.
The generator has 360 devices that limit individual electrical components' exposure to overloads; however, 164 of those components are underrated. If the plant had extreme failure, the devices could fail to disconnect and overload circuits, causing a fire or an explosion that could throw shrapnel.
The utility company is working with engineers to fix the design flaw. Once they know how much it will cost to fix, they will weigh that against the expected lifespan to see if it is worth the cost or if they should shut down the plant.
"Everything's fixable, but at what price? Right now we're looking for the things we haven't thought of, aside from replacing everything wholesale," said Lakeland Electric General Manager Joel Ivy. "We're not going to fire up the plant unless they can convince me it's safe. Cost is secondary to that."
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