The FBI is apparently being brought in to investigate what is considered to be a case of sabotage at San Onofre nuclear plant in California. Coolant was found in the oil tank for an emergency diesel generator. This eventually led staff at the plant to inform the NRC of potential sabotage. Employees at the plant confirmed that the FBI is not involved in the suspicious finding.
The report by Huffington Post cites past instances of worker sabotage at nuclear plants when there were labor disputes or workforce cuts.
The workers union has had a long history of problems with plant ownership. San Onofre has some of the highest levels of safety concerns raised by employees to the NRC in the US. There have also been many instances of management retaliation against workers.
So Cal Edison, owners of the plant have made no plans to restart unit 3 and have removed all the fuel. The workforce cuts reflect far more than this change. The worker cuts included firing every employee in certain job roles and dumping these tasks onto other people such as control room operators. Control room operator assistants were also being cut as were the entire computer tech staff. This would leave the entire nuclear plant with no staff capable of dealing with computer issues or computer issues related to reactor control systems. The cuts would also leave the plant with no licensed crane operators.
The union points out very well how the staff cuts would make it impossible to operate the reactor on such a small staff. The reality may be that this is actually a set of cuts that are a tacit admission they do not plan to restart the plant, ever or for a very long time. These drastic cuts may work if neither unit is operating or in any mode of heavy maintenance or repair work. This may be So Cal Edison’s quiet admission that San Onofre won’t be restarting.
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