Michael Mullenniex 1:43 p.m., May 25
Diesel backup generators, missing reports among latest problem areas at San Onofre
More safety concerns have come to light at the beleaguered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, including a coolant leak into one of the emergency backup generators at the site and a failure to keep proper records of radioactive waste dating back almost 20 years.
During routine maintenance at one of the diesel generators, workers found coolant leaking into the unit’s oil system. According to plant operator Southern California Edison, this could have caused a failure in the generator’s governor system that stops the unit from operating at too high a speed, the Voice of OC reports, also noting that failures of the diesel backup generators in the aftermath of the tsunami that struck in Fukushima were one of the causes of the meltdown that is still plaguing local residents.
Last year the Reader spoke with investigative journalist and former nuclear investigator Greg Palast, who expressed serious concern about the ability of diesel generators to function properly in the event of an emergency regardless of their condition, saying their installation serves the sole purpose of pacifying the public.
Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors also found that records regarding the plant’s South Yard Facility, where radioactive material such as piping is stored, were not included on mandatory safety reports dating back to 1985. There was, however, no evidence that waste in the area was being improperly handled.
Both violations, as well as a third related to a third related to failures to take corrective actions identified as necessary during previous inspections, were all ranked as being of a low or very low priority.