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Radiation Leak at San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant Forces Shut Down
On Tuesday afternoon, operators detected a leak in a tube housed in the building next to one of the reactors at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant in Southern California. Crews are reported to have immediately taken action to manage the leak, although a small amount of radiation was released. Officials are promising the amount of radiation emitted was negligible when compared to background radiation levels. Nevertheless, the leak prompted the entire reactor to be shut down to determine the source its and repair it. Southern California Edison claims that there was no threat to the public or their plant workers, but we can’t deny our concern over the safety of the almost 30-year-old nuclear power plant.
According to the LA Times, the incident began at around 4:30 pm on Tuesday afternoon when a sensor detected a potential leak. Crews immediately responded to reduce pressure and cool the plant to stop the tube from leaking. The leak was stopped, but radiation was determined to have leaked out. “There was no threat then, nor is there now any danger to the public or to plant workers,” said Pete Dietrich, senior vice president and chief nuclear officer for Southern California Edison. “Our operators performed exactly as they are trained to perform and took prompt action to ensure we did not create a situation involving any challenge to the health and safety of the public.”
San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is located right on the coast in between San Diego and LA to the west of I-5. A very popular state beach and surf break sits just to the north of the power plant. The plant currently consists of 2 reactors, which when operational have a capacity of 2.35 MW of power. The other reactor was shut down for scheduled maintenance and upgrade on Wednesday. Although the crew apparently took appropriate actions to remedy the situation, it is frightening to ponder what could have been had the leak been more serious.
Via LA Times
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