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Entries in Leak (2)

Wednesday
Feb012012

San Onofre Nuclear Plant Closed After Radiation Leak

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- A small quantity of radioactive gas leaked inside one of the buildings at San Onofre nuclear power plant north of San Diego, according to a spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The spokesman said the radiation levels were “barely measurable,” but concern was high enough to shut the plant down.

Officials say the radiation leak likely occurred in the steam generator tubes of San Onofre’s reactor #3. The steam system, which is supposed to be shielded from exposure to radiation, was replaced in December 2010.

San Onofre is one of dozens of U.S. reactors facing new scrutiny after Japan’s nuclear crisis. It is located right on the coast, and in the heart of America’s earthquake country.

It also is right next door to Camp Pendleton, the Navy’s West Coast hub, where 70,000 sailors, marines and their families would be in immediate danger if there’s ever a meltdown.

ABC News visited San Onofre the day the Fukushima Daiichi plant in Japan melted down. At the time, plant officials were eager to reassure the public that the same thing could not happen on the California coast.

“This plant is safe,” California Edison’s Chief Nuclear Officer Pete Dietrich told ABC News.

After Japan, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission updated its seismic model and in a report issued Tuesday found that 96 reactors in the central and southern U.S. may be at a higher risk for quakes than previously thought.

The report included parts of the country that are not traditionally seen as geologically active, places like Chattanooga, Tenn., Savannah, Ga., Jackson, Miss., Manchester, N.H., and Houston, Texas.

Major metropolitan areas are uncomfortably close to major nuclear plants, with as many as 120 million Americans living within 50 miles of a nuclear reactor, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Indian Point, outside of New York City, has 20 million people living within a 50-mile radius. And Dresden is just 50 miles from the heavily-populated suburbs of Chicago.

Nuclear regulators plan to give plant operators four years to re-evaluate seismic risks, but some of the plants may be too expensive to make earthquake safe.

However, in the case of San Onofre, it’s unlikely the leak had anything to do with seismic safety and was probably just faulty equipment.  Officials have been taking extra care to reassure the public that there’s no danger, since after Japan, the idea of radiation leaking from a nuclear plant tends to set people on edge.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Dec062010

Another Pentagon Security Leak; Sailor Allegedly Sold Secrets

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the same week the Pentagon said it was cracking down on access to government secrets, a low-level Navy clerk with top secret clearance to Afghan war intelligence sold classified documents and offered access to the Pentagon's most sensitive computer networks, according to a search warrant filed last week in federal court by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

The sailor, petty officer Bryan Minkyu Martin, was taken into custody at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina but has not yet been charged, according to a spokesperson for the investigative service.

According to the affidavit, Martin sold 51 pages of "secret" and "top secret" documents to an FBI undercover agent posing as a representative of an unnamed foreign government. He was paid $2,000 for the documents, according to the affidavit.

The case came during the same week in which the Pentagon said it was cracking down on access to top-secret documents after some 250,000 classified Pentagon and State Department cables were posted online by the website WikiLeaks. An Army private, Bradley Manning, has been charged with providing the classified cables.

According to a military source familiar with Manning and Martin's security clearances, Martin's access to sensitive documents is significantly higher.

In the case at Ft. Bragg, the affidavit says petty officer Martin allegedly boasted of his access to classified network systems, including "Joint special Operations Command Information Automated Network (JIANT), a network classified SECRET, and the Special Operations System (SOIS), a network classified TOP SECRET."

Martin told the undercover agent "that his current assignment focuses on Afghanistan, and that he will work for the Defense Intelligence Agency in the future," the affidavit said. Martin added "that over his prospective 15 to 20 years career, he could be very valuable."

Martin, of Mexico, New York, was tracked wearing his U.S. Navy uniform as he left his Ft. Bragg office and headed for the meeting with the FBI undercover agent, the affidavit said.

He provided the agent with 51 pages of documents, "48 pages of which were marked SECRET and three pages were marked TOP SECRET," according to the affidavit.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio