February 24, 2006

Low level radioactive transport leaks in Utah: NRC

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Low level radioactive water from a
Southern California nuclear power plant leaked from a transport
truck this week on its way to a waste site in Utah, the U.S.
Nuclear Regulatory Agency reported.

The leak provides no threat to the public, said NRC
spokesman Scott Burnell.

The amount of liquid with trace amounts of radioactive
material was not known, but it is believed to be small. Waste
water leaked on dirt and asphalt at a truck stop parking lot on
Wednesday near Parowan, Utah, about four hours from the waste
site in Clive owned by Envirocare Utah, the NRC said.

The radioactive water came from the San Onofre Nuclear
Generating Station near San Clemente in northern San Diego
County operated by Southern California Edison.

SCE and Utah officials were at the truck stop on Friday
supervising the removal of asphalt and dirt where the water

The NRC will investigate to see if procedures to transport
nuclear waste were followed and if any changes to those
procedures need to be made, Burnell said.

"Anytime you transport low level radioactive waste, you're
supposed to make sure it remains in the container it is being
transported in," Burnell said.

Ray Golden, spokesman for SCE, said the company is looking
into the transportation of the water. He added that what leaked
this week was not extremely dangerous.

"If you were standing next to the water for an hour, you
would get less than one-tenth (the radiation) of what you would
get from one chest X-Ray," Golden said.

The truck was carrying 4,500 gallons of water from unit 1
at the plant.

"Minor leakage from a (vent) valve on top" of the truck was
noticed after the truck stopped near Parowan, the NRC reported.

"Unconfirmed measurements indicate radiation levels are
near background," the NRC said.

The waste water is from unit 1 at San Onofre, which has not
been operational since 1992 and is being decommissioned. The
decommissioning of the unit began in 1999 and is expected to be
completed in 2008, Golden said. So this water had been at the
plant since at least 1992, he said.

SCE needs to transport two more tanker trucks of the same
type of water, Golden said. Two trucks left the plant on
Wednesday, and one got to the waste site without leaking, the
NRC said.

Golden said the trucker stopped twice and inspected the
tanker and found no leaks, before stopping at the truck stop
near Parowan.

SCE is a subsidiary of Edison International.