Friday, November 2, 2007

Man Arrested Carrying Pipe Bomb Into Nuclear Power Plant

Nothing to see here, folks... No threat of terrorism here...

PHOENIX, Nov 2 (Reuters) - The Palo Verde nuclear power plant, the largest in the United States, was sealed off on Friday after security guards found a pipe bomb in a worker's pickup truck as he tried to enter the facility, officials said.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Department said the small bomb was found in "plain view" in the bed of a pickup truck of a contract worker shortly around 6 a.m. local time.

The FBI and the sheriff's department are investigating but have yet to say whether the worker intended to explode the bomb or if it was a device capable of being detonated. A driver of the pickup, a man from South Carolina, was detained and questioned by lawmen, including the FBI.

There was "no indication at this point if he intended" to do harm to anyone, said Maricopa Sheriff's Department Capt. Paul Chagolla.

The pipe bomb has been removed from Palo Verde, which is located about 50 miles west of Phoenix.

"There is no threat to the plant," said Jim McDonald, spokesman for Arizona Public Service, which operates Palo Verde. He added that the public was not in danger.

Chagolla said, "Our examination and preliminary testing shows it is a viable improvised explosive device," commonly known as a pipe bomb.

The plant, which has three nuclear reactors, continued to operate, APS said.

Victor Dricks, spokesman for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the NRC was "monitoring the response of the operator" but did not see any threat of danger to the public.

APS chief nuclear officer Randy Edington said, "Our security personnel acted cautiously and appropriately and demonstrated that our security processes worked as designed."


"Security processes worked as designed." I guess it helped that the pipe bomb was lying in plain view... At least there was no threat of terrorism. That makes me feel soooo much safer.

UPDATE: It seems I mis-typed in the title. The man was not arrested, but detained for questioning. The man now claims he was unaware of the pipe bomb apparently left in the bed of his truck.

A 61-year-old man said he was unaware of a pipe bomb in his pickup bed Friday that triggered a lockdown at Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station when he tried to pass security, officials said.

From about 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. , no one was allowed on or off the nation's largest power plant as security and law enforcement officers investigated and searched for more explosives at the site about 50 miles west of Phoenix.

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