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Things get unusual at Diablo

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It wasn’t business as usual at the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant this Christmas.

A high gust of wind prompted Pacific Gas & Electric plant operators to declare an “unusual event” to government officials, as required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

But PG&E officials say there was nothing to worry about, and the declaration was basically a formality.

According to PG&E Corporate Affairs Manager Paul Flake, at approximately 4:15 p.m. the plant’s meteorological tower recorded a wind gust of more than 80 mph. At 4:25 p.m., the plant reported the event for both Units 1 and 2 to federal, state, and local county government officials.

“We did so as a conservative action,” Flake said. “It’s worth it to note the wind didn’t cause any problems and the plant continues to operate with no threat to the public. It’s just part of our nuclear safety policy to put safety first.”

An unusual event is the least threatening of four emergency classifications the plant is required to report, followed by an alert, a site emergency, and a general emergency.

Flake said the plant, which is designed to withstand earthquakes and other natural phenomena, has the capability of weathering high winds.

“‘Unusual’ is basically anything other than normal plant conditions as it relates to operation,” Flake said, explaining it’s not specifically related to wind. “It requires no action from the government or the general public.”

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