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Security computer at San Onofre mysteriously shuts down

July 16, 2011 |  9:12 pm

Photo: San Onofre nuclear plant. Credit: KTLA-TV A security computer at the San Onofre nuclear generating plant near San Clemente mysteriously shut down early Saturday morning, prompting the plant manager to issue an "unusual event" report.

The computer, which monitors gates and doors as one part of the plant’s overlapping security systems, was restarted 45 minutes later without incident, and there were no threats to the plant’s security, officials said.

"This was a very minor situation," said Pete Dietrich, chief nuclear officer for Southern California Edison, which operates the San Onofre plant. "At first blush, it involves a potential software glitch."

The "unusual event" declaration is the lowest of four levels of reportable emergencies, said Gil Alexander, a spokesman for SoCal Edison.

The last report of an "unusual event" at San Onofre was in April 2010 after an earthquake in Baja Mexico sent shockwaves through the San Clemente area, Alexander said.

Dietrich said the cause of the crash was still under investigation, but so far "there’s absolutely no indication there was any situation involving cyber security."

Due to strict safety-reporting requirements for nuclear plants, Dietrich said the event would be thoroughly investigated and reported to the Nuclear Energy Commission.

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-- Jason Felch

Photo: San Onofre nuclear plant. Credit: KTLA-TV

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