Ammonia leak prompts alert at San Onofre nuclear plant

SAN CLEMENTE (CNS) – An ammonia leak in a water-treatment system at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station's turbines prompted an alert at the plant Tuesday, but Southern California Edison officials insisted there was no threat to the public.

The advisory was declared at about 3 p.m. when the leak was detected, according to SCE, the majority owner of the plant.

“As a precaution, the company evacuated employees in the area near where the leak was found,” according to a statement from Edison. “Other employees remain in other areas of the plant. There's no immediate danger to the public. Those units are operating normally.”

The leak occurred in a non-nuclear section of the plant, but the alert was mandated because the fumes could have prevented access to the plant, according to Edison.

“The control room is staffed and fully operational and the plant is under 100 percent power,” according to the utility.

For their part, county officials responded to the leak by activating and staffing their Operational Area Emergency Operations Center, in order to “be prepared should the situation at the power plant deteriorate.”

“All resources and support personnel have been identified and are on standby, ready to be mobilized if needed,” according to a county announcement.

Updates will be available via a public information telephone “hot line,” which can be reached by dialing 211, officials said.

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