Ammonia leak at San Onofre nuke plant in S. Calif.

November 1, 2011 - 7:55 PM

SAN ONOFRE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say there is a non-radioactive ammonia leak at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in Southern California, prompting a low-level emergency alert at the facility.

The plant's operator, Southern California Edison, says the alert was declared at about 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Spokesman Gil Alexander tells the Orange County Register that the alert is the lowest of four possible emergency classifications used by the nuclear industry.

He did not know the size of the ammonia leak, which came from reactor unit 3's steam system. At San Onofre, the steam that drives turbines, which generate electricity, is separated from radioactive systems.

Alexander says there is a precautionary evacuation of some plant workers whose jobs are closest to the leak.

The plant is located about 45 miles north of San Diego.