Explosion Rocks Long Beach after Steam Pipe Rupture at Gas Plant

An explosion caused by a steam pipe rupture at the natural gas-fired AES Alamitos Generating Station rocked a neighborhood in Long Beach, Calif. on Wednesday morning. No injuries were reported.

AES California said in a statement that Unit 3 at the 2,000-MW plant experienced a rupture in a five-inch pipe that carries high-pressure steam and water to the boiler at 7:44 a.m. on Wednesday. "When the rupture occurred, an immediate shutdown of the Unit was initiated and the site’s emergency response procedures were followed." AES verified that all personnel onsite were safe and accounted for.

The release of steam reportedly caused a large visible plume and "excessive noise" for about 45 minutes until the unit was fully depressurized and taken out of service. Video of the apparent explosion is available from the Pasadena Star News.

AES bought the six-unit gas-fired plant from Southern California Edison in 1998. It is located two miles northeast of the entrance to Alamitos Bay and the Long Beach Marina.

“We always strive to be a good neighbor and are sensitive to the impact the noise may have had on the community, said AES Southland President Eric Pendergraft in a statement on Wednesday. “We responded as quickly as possible to shut down the facility and minimize the impact.”

Sources: POWERnews, AES

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