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VIDEO: Radiation escapes from San Onofre nuclear plant, official says

SAN ONOFRE, Calif. -- A nuclear reactor at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station remained off-line Wednesday due to an equipment problem that sent a small, non-hazardous amount of radioactive gas into an auxiliary building and possibly into the atmosphere, authorities said.

The leak in a steam-generator tube in Unit 3 at the power plant just north of Camp Pendleton was detected about 6 pm Tuesday, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

An alarm alerted station personnel to the presence of radioactivity in the ancillary structure, and they immediately began shutting down the reactor, NRC spokesman Victor Dricks said.

Since the equipment-housing building into which the gas leaked is not airtight, it is possible a "very, very low level" of radioactivity escaped into the environment, according to Dricks, who said those traces would be "barely measurable against (existing) background levels" and would pose no danger to the public.

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