Doh! Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant has "Unusual Event;" No Danger, Says APS

An official "unusual event" was declared at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generation Station west of Phoenix on Saturday after water in a junction box outside of reactor containment building caused an electrical short.

KTAR (92.3 FM) radio is the only outlet that appears to have reported the incident, but maybe that's because -- according to Arizona Public Service, anyway -- this is a non-story.

Jim McDonald, a spokesman for APS, told the radio station that McDonald went on to say that "some water got into a junction box. It shorted out. As a result, we declared a notification of unusual event. That is an emergency level, but a very, very, low one. The lowest one."

We're guessing that in the nuclear plant instruction manual, a meltdown would be called a "really, really, REALLY frickin' unusual" event.

Maybe this kind of "event" isn't really noteworthy. A shorted-out junction box certainly wouldn't be news at a coal plant. But nuclear plants are just so -- we'll just say it -- scary.

Not only are thousands of people at risk if radioactive gas belches out of the plant someday, but -- as the Arizona Republic pointed out midway through an article about Palo Verde's safety record -- fear of radioactivity could cause mayhem in the Phoenix area without a single contaminated molecule drifting eastward.

Palo Verde's in one of the safest areas in the country for a nuclear plant, as far as the lack of earthquakes or tsunamis. That leaves pilot error as the leading source of a potential problem.

It's worth keeping an eye on those "unusual events."

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.