Fire at San Onofre poses no threat to public, officials say

A fire of unknown origin burned an electrical panel at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Friday afternoon, causing minor damage and posing no threats to the public, authorities reported.

The blaze, which caused no injuries, erupted shortly after 12:30 p.m. in a non-radiological section of SONGS Unit 2, according to Southern California Edison, operator of the plant. It took the facility’s firefighting personnel less than 45 minutes to fully extinguish the flames, SCE spokesman Danny Chung said.

“We haven’t been able to assess the damages yet,” he said. ”We do know it was minor.’’

Unit 2 was taken out of service for a planned maintenance outage on Jan. 9. Both Units 2 and 3 remain shut down for steam generator testing and analysis.

Staff at the station — which is owned by Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric, and the city of Riverside — operate two reactors, referred to as Unit 2 and Unit 3. Unit 1 was in operation from 1968 to 1992, when it was shut down over fears it could not withstand a major earthquake.

Unit 2 was taken down for planned maintenance Jan. 9 and remains offline.

The shutdown of the full plant was due to a leak detected in a tube in Unit 3 on Jan. 31. It resulted in a minor venting of radioactive gas, according to Edison, which reported that the release was detectable only on sensors in an adjacent building and posed no hazards to plant workers or the public.

   
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