Just days after a small leak at the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant prompted the shutdown of one reactor, the plant confirmed to NBCSanDiego an earlier accident in which a man fell into the plant’s reactor pool.
The worker, an employee of an outside contractor, was leaning over to retrieve a flashlight while working near Unit 2’s reactor pool last week when he fell according to Southern California Edison spokesperson Gil Alexander.
Alexander talked with NBCSanDiego Thursday about the accident that happened Jan. 27.
The pool's more than 20 feet deep and holds water that circulates through the reactor core.
The worker was wearing a life vest Alexander told our media partner The North County Times.
There was no fuel in the pool at the time of the accident.
The worker was checked out by medical experts at the plant and "went right back to work," Alexander said.
The paper reported the man received 5 millirems of radiation which is reportedly not considered a major dose. By comparison, a chest X-ray provides about a 4-millirem dose.
On Tuesday, Southern California Edison, which runs the plant to generate electricity for southern California, decided on "a precautionary shutdown of Unit 3" due to a possible steam generator tube leak.
A tiny amount of radiation could have escaped from that plant, but officials say workers and the public were not endangered.
On Thursday, federal regulators identified the cause was unusual wear on dozens of tubes that carry radioactive water at Unit 2.
Officials said the damage to the tubes was discovered during inspections of a steam generator and that equipment was replaced recently in both units.