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Report faults workers for ammonia leak at San Onofre nuclear plant

February 10, 2012 |  7:39 pm

San Onofre nuclear power station

Failure by workers to recognize and repair degraded equipment led to an ammonia leak that caused an emergency alert at the San Onofre nuclear plant in November, federal regulators said Friday.

The findings by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, first reported by the Associated Press, faulted plant operator Southern California Edison for failing to follow its own procedures at San Onofre, the twin-reactor plant located just south of the Orange County border.

The commission concluded that that problem had "very low safety significance."

Edison conducted its own investigation and found the same contributing factors as the NRC, according to a company news release. The utility said that it has made changes to address the problem.

The NRC found San Onofre workers "failed to adequately identify, evaluate and correct a problem" in a water purification system, which led to the ammonia leak.

No one was injured because of the leak, although some workers were evacuated as a precautionary measure.


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-- Kurt Streeter

Photo: The San Onofre nuclear plant. Credit: Allen J. Schaben  / Los Angeles Times