Officials at the San Onofre nuclear power plant in California are investigating why they found coolant mixed with oil in their safety equipment. Investigators are now trying to determine if the incident was an act of sabotage by an employee of Arab decent.
The Southern California Edison’s San Onofre nuclear power plant has often fallen under scrutiny for creating dangerous conditions that some have worried could result in California’s Fukushima. The plant was shut down over radioactive leaks in January, but has since drafted a reopening plan without undergoing a safety hearing.
While the coolant was found on Oct. 30 before it caused any damage, the incident comes at a critical time for the company: Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) officials are set to meet with Southern California Edison representatives Friday night to discuss the limited restarting of the plant.
In order to restart, inspectors would have to deem the plant safe enough to operate. But the presence of the coolant may give some NRC officials second thoughts.
The coolant was found on equipment that helps run an emergency diesel generator. San Onofre’s diesel generator was temporarily taken offline for maintenance, but if the coolant had remained when the generators were activated, the equipment that controls the generators speed would have failed.
In Fukushima, Japan, it was the failure of emergency generators that were partially the cause of the plant’s failure in 2011. At San Onofre, the backup generator would be needed to help keep the reactor cool if power was lost at the site. Read more…
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