Main Injector operates again following transformer fire

Fermilab staff responded to a fire caused by a failed transformer at MI-60 on Saturday afternoon, April 23. The transformer had to be disconnected from the 13,800-volt power grid before fire fighters could start extinguishing the fire. Photo: Fermilab

Fermilab staff responded to a fire caused by a failed transformer at MI-60 on Saturday afternoon, April 23. The transformer had to be disconnected from the 13,800-volt power grid before fire fighters could start extinguishing the fire. Photo: Fermilab

On Saturday, April 23, a transformer located on the Fermilab site at MI-60 malfunctioned and resulted in a fire. Nobody was injured, but the fire damaged the exterior of an adjacent utility building and a power-supply system for the Recycler RF power.

The Main Injector accelerator was operating again on Saturday evening and is delivering particle beams to Fermilab’s neutrino experiments and Test Beam Facility. The Recycler ring remains off-line until the power supply has been repaired. As a result, the Main Injector is delivering lower-than-usual beam intensities.

Operators in Fermilab’s Main Control Remote noticed the malfunctioning of the transformer at about 1:15 p.m. on Saturday and then saw a power disruption to the Fermilab accelerator complex. Staff discovered the fire at the transformer and alerted the Fermilab fire department. Fire companies from Batavia, Geneva and North Aurora responded as well.

Fueled by mineral oil located inside the transformer, the fire developed a plume of smoke that was visible from off site. Fermilab electricians had to disconnect the transformer and power supply from the 13,800-volt power grid before fire fighters could start extinguishing the fire. Six hours later, the Main Injector was running again.

The Fermilab Accelerator Division will need to replace the transformer and repair the power-supply system for the Recycler ring. A detailed investigation of the damage caused by the fire is ongoing.

Fueled by mineral oil located inside the transformer, the fire damaged the exterior of a utility building and a power-supply system. Photo: Fermilab

Fueled by mineral oil located inside the transformer, the fire damaged the exterior of a utility building and a power-supply system. Photo: Fermilab