PG&E spokesperson Sharon Gavin confirmed that on Dec. 12, Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant's unit 2 reactor shut down after a cooling pump exploded and caused a small fire at approximately 1:30 p.m. The blaze was extinguished within an hour. No one was injured, and no radiation leaks were reported.
- PHOTO BY JESSE ACOSTA
- REACTOR REACTION : A small fire on Dec. 12 shut down one of the reactors at Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.
# This is the third incident reported at Diablo's unit 2 reactor within the past three months, though Gavin noted that the incidents were unrelated.
In August, there was a water leak in the unit's coolant system. On Dec. 10, operators shut the unit down due to a faulty sensor reading relating to one of the coolant system pumps.
Opponents of the reactor said that the incidents indicate that the plant is past its prime and no longer safe to run.
"The problem is that the plant is old and it sits on the coastline in sea air," said Morgan Rafferty, director of ECOSLO. "Three unrelated incidents in the last three months are certainly a concern. They are in the process of replacing parts, but there are too many weak points in the system. Ultimately I don't think there is any safe way to run a nuclear plant."
Gavin said that the Dec. 12 fire was caused by an electrical fault, which is currently under investigation. On the afternoon of Dec. 13, she said that she anticipated the unit to return to 50 percent power within 24 hours.
"Our operators are taking steps to protect the plant and the public," Gavin added. "Our safety systems are responding as they are expected to."