San Onofre nuclear reactor turned off after radiation leak
Radioactive gas escaped from a pipe in a building located next to the San Onofre nuclear power plant's reactor on Tuesday evening.
Wed, Feb 01, 2012 at 06:37 PM
NUCLEAR POWER: The San Onofre plant produces enough energy to power 1.4 million homes. (Photo: AFP)
A reactor at the San Onofre nuclear power plant near San Diego has been shut down after a radiation leak which was not big enough to cause public harm, the U.S. atomic safety agency said Wednesday.
Radioactive gas escaped from a pipe in a building located next to the reactor on Tuesday evening, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said.
Since the equipment-housing building into which the gas leaked is not airtight, it is possible a "very, very low level," of radioactive material escaped into the environment, said NRC spokesman Victor Dricks.
Those traces would be "barely measurable against (existing) background levels," and would pose no danger to the public, he added.
The operator of the California nuclear plant, Southern California Edison Co., said it was investigating the exact cause of the incident and that the reactor would not be used for several days.
At the time of the incident the other reactor at the California site was shut down for essential maintenance, but SCE said it had sufficient supplies to service its customers.
San Onofre produces enough energy to power 1.4 million homes, according to SCE.
Copyright 2012 AFP Global Edition