The high failure frequency and the resultant reliability and safety implications in recent years of transformers, in particular at nuclear power plants (NPP), required an in-depth assessment. Fires of main transformers are considered as critical because of the large quantity of oil in contact with high voltage elements. Therefore, these phenomena have been investigated in more detail using the information from the OECD FIRE database for NPP. 12.8 % of all fires and, thus, the most frequent fire source in this database are transformer fires, mainly fires of high voltage oil-filled transformers. Thus, possible diagnostic measures to avoid such events and enhance the reliability currently discussed in Germany are shortly described. Moreover, consequences of transformer failures with respect to a reliable electric power supply are addressed.
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