Recurring Problem Forced Diablo Canyon Nuke Unit Offline

By Elizabeth McCarthy| California Current Link to article

The untimely Oct. 15 shut down of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant’s Unit 2 is the second malfunction in a critical component of its electric generator, which was just rebuilt. In July, the same Pacific Gas & Electric unit was forced offline because then, as now, the cooling system that lowers the extreme heat inside the spinning generator was leaking hydrogen gas, which is the cooling fluid.

“While this isn’t a radioactive disaster, it could lead to a catastrophic industrial disaster,” warned David Weisman, Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility outreach coordinator. It is not only the loss of the 1,000 MW of power the plant produces, but also the potential loss of over $100 million worth of machinery, he noted.

Diablo Canyon’s only other unit also is down, undergoing planned maintenance since Oct. 3. Thus, the entire 2,200 MW plant was offline when the grid operator called for conservation last Thursday. It is still not sending any power to the grid.

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