San Luis Obispo County

Brief scare as firefighters respond to fire at Diablo Canyon Power Plant

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY, Calif. - Residents were on edge Thursday night after Cal Fire responded to a possible fire at Diablo Canyon Power Plant.

The nuclear plant is located near Avila Beach in San Luis Obispo County.

At around 7:30 p.m. CalFire tweeted that crews were en route to the plant to investigate the smell of smoke at the plant.

About 15 minutes later, CalFire tweeted that the incident response had been called off and any fire that was on the premises was already extinguished. A fire engine did remain on scene to assist with the mop up.


Pacific Gas and Electric, which operates the power plant, said the cause of the smoke was an overheating piece of machinery. PG&E sent us the following statement:

“Earlier this evening at PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Power Plant we experienced a situation at our ocean intake structure where a motorized pump that runs a system to clean kelp and ocean debris in our intake structure overheated. There is absolutely no risk to plant safety or personnel and both units continue to operate at full power.  Our on-site fire department responded to the scene, and per our procedures and out of an abundance of caution we requested off-site fire assistance, which was cancelled a short time later.  Our on-site fire department team quickly extinguished a small flame on the equipment that briefly flared up while they were on the scene.  Our current efforts are focused on determining the cause of the situation.”

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