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Despite disturbing finding, Edison seeks to restart trouble-prone nuclear facility
Hearing Nov. 30 in Laguna Hills as nine cities voice concerns over safety issues
November 30, 2012 (San Diego)—Southern California Edison has notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of possible sabotage at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating facility, after finding coolant poured in the oil reservoir of an emergency backup generator at Unit 3, Energy News reports.
The FBI is taking over the investigation and criminal charges are possible, according to a plant employee who spoke under condition of
Union members and management at the plant, meanwhile, have been locked in bitter contract negotiations, and the atmosphere further deteriorated after the company announced in August that more than 700 employees would be laid off before the end of the year.
"Most of us are kind of baffled by it," the SCE employee said of the alleged tampering. "While morale is as low as it has ever been and the environment is as chilled as it has ever been, no one I know could imagine doing such a thing. First of all, the chances of getting caught are so high. But more importantly, what are you accomplishing? You're only endangering yourself and your coworkers and the surrounding public. I can't understand the logic behind it.
"On the other hand, I'm also not completely surprised because the environment really is so harsh. People can do crazy things when they are under extreme stress."
"A nuclear plant doesn't have many tours open to the public for safety and security reasons," said Pete Dietrich, senior vice president of SCE and chief nuclear officer. "But with this virtual tour, our community members, our customers and anyone around the world can come inside the plant and understand what the facility does and how it works."
The virtual tour is part of ongoing efforts by the utility to inform and educate the public about the plant and repairs, corrective actions and a proposal to restart and operate Unit 2, where the leak occurred. Engineers and community liaisons are also conducting open houses in several communities in the region and are available to speak to groups upon request.