A man driving a stolen delivery van he claimed was loaded with explosives was apprehended in a restricted area at the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating station on Tuesday afternoon (September 12).
According to sheriff's deputy Melissa Aquino, 27-year-old Erik Jon Norman drove past the entrance gates to the plant shortly before 4:30. He was quickly detained by on-site security in a restricted access parking lot, at which point he told guards the van "contained electronic equipment and possibly explosives."
Sheriff's deputies and a bomb/arson unit responded to the scene, where they determined the van had been stolen in Oceanside earlier in the day. Rather than explosive material, they found only common shipping parcels on board. Norman was later booked into the Vista jail. He will face charges related to the auto theft.
While power generation activities at San Onofre ceased several years ago, roughly 3.6 million pounds of highly radioactive nuclear waste remain in storage at the site. If an explosive device were detonated, roughly 8.5 million people would live in a contamination zone defined by proximity to the stored casks and cooling pools.