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Nuclear power plant held together with masking tape, broomsticks

By Kristen Butler, UPI.com
Nuclear power plant held together with masking tape, broomsticks
A worker at the SONGS nuclear power plant in San Diego snapped this photo of a water leak fixed with masking tape, plastic bags, and a broomstick. (Screenshot via ABC 10 News San Diego)

An inside source snapped a photo inside the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) in San Diego showing plastic bags, masking tape and broom sticks used to stem a massive leaky pipe.

The picture was sent to ABC 10 News, and the anonymous source claims the photo was taken in December 2012. San Onofre owner Southern California Edison (SCE), confirmed the picture was taken inside Unit Three, but did not say when.

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Unit Three leaked radiation in January 2012, and SONGS has been shut down since as a precaution. There are currently plans to restart Unit Two pending Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval, but there is no expectation of restarting Unit Three in the near future.

"The condition represented in the photograph has been identified as a minor saltwater leak at Unit 3 and poses no danger to public health and safety," Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman Victor Dricks wrote after three days of analysis.

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But sources inside the plant claim rust is rampant throughout SONGS -- including what sources call a fire suppression pipe, which protects both units.

Records show SONGS staff reported "hundreds of corrosion notifications" and "degraded equipment." Staff sent a letter to management saying SONGS "clearly has a serious corrosion problem" throughout the plant.

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SCE spokeswoman Maureen Brown wrote in a statement that the photo shows a leak in a water box and that "temporary plastic" is in place to "direct the water from the small leak to a drain."

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"This is part of the system that takes in ocean water which is circulated through condensers and then returned to the ocean. This water is not radioactive."

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