Ammonia leak sparks alert at San Onofre


City News Service

An ammonia leak in the steam system used to drive 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 alert was declared at about 3 p.m. when the leak was detected, according to SCE, the majority owner of the plant. According to Edison later in the, about 25 gallons of ammonia leaked and was

collected in a basin underneath the tank. No injuries were reported and the alert was lifted shortly after 6 p.m.

As a precaution, the company evacuated employees in the area near where the leak was found,’’ according to the initial 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.’’

A press release from the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services said that in response the county “has activated and staffed the Operational Area Emergency Operations Center (EOC) with county agency representatives, in order that it may be prepared should the situation at the power plant deteriorate.”

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.

Updates will be available via a public information telephone hotline,’’ which can be reached by dialing 211, officials said.