Small Hydrogen Leak Reported at San Onofre Nuclear Plant

Officials at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station are working to fix a small hydrogen gas leak that began Sunday morning, according to the senior federal inspector at the plant.

A “very small” amount of hydrogen has been leaking from a water treatment system for steam generators at Unit 2, said U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspector Gregory Warnick.

A plant worker noticed abnormal pressure in the equipment, known as a “chemical treatment skid,” early Sunday, Warnick said. The leak was then verified by operators who placed soap on the tubing and noticed bubbles.

He added that officials at Southern California Edison, which operates the plant, then reported the leak to the California Emergency Management Agency at 8:09 a.m.

The leak presents no dangers to the public or plant officials, Warnick said.

“There’s no risk of any hydrogen accumulating anywhere. There’s no risk of flammability or explosion because of where it is,” he said.

Workers should have the leak contained in the next day or two, said Warnick. A Southern California Edison spokeswoman did not immediately return a message Monday morning seeking comment.

The plant has not been in operation since late January, when a small radiation leak was discovered.