An alert has been declared at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in San Diego County.
Liquid ammonia was discovered to be leaking at a rate of three gallons every 10 minutes from a tank in an open area, said Dricks of the NRC. The leak made portions of the plant’s turbine building inaccessible and personnel were moved to another area of the site.
NRC inspectors stationed at the plant are investigating the cause of the leak, said Dricks, speaking from Texas. It wasn’t clear if the leak had any impact on the maritime environment at San Onofre.
Orange County Sheriff’s officials say that there was an incident at the plant at approximately 3:10 p.m. Tuesday, prompting an alert.
Southern California Edison tells CBS 2 that the incident is “an ammonia leak that is being contained.” The leak occurred in a steam system used to drive the station’s turbines, SCE said. The leak is not nuclear.
No radiation is currently escaping from the power plant, Lt. Roland Chacon said. The Orange County Emergency Operations Center has been activated.
No evacuations have been ordered and there is no danger to the public, SCE said.
Spokesman Gil Alexander tells the Orange County Register that the alert is the lowest of four possible emergency classifications used by the nuclear industry.
He did not know the size of the ammonia leak, which came from reactor unit 3’s steam system. At San Onofre, the steam that drives turbines, which generate electricity, is separated from radioactive systems.
Alexander says there is a precautionary evacuation of some plant workers whose jobs are closest to the leak.
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