Nuclear plant worker detained

A pipe bomb found in his truck causes a lockdown at the Arizona plant.

Associated Press
Published November 3, 2007

PHOENIX - Security officials at the nation's largest nuclear power plant detained a contract worker with a small pipe bomb in the back of his pickup truck Friday, and investigators were searching his apartment, authorities said.

The worker was stopped at the entrance of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, about half a mile from the containment domes where the plant's nuclear material is stored, plant spokesman Jim McDonald said. Officials put the nuclear station on lockdown, prohibiting anyone from entering or leaving the facility. The lockdown was lifted a few hours later.

Authorities described the device as a six-inch capped explosive made of galvanized pipe that contained suspicious residue. Tom Mangan, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said it was likely homemade.

Maricopa County sheriff's Capt. Paul Chagolla said the pipe bomb was not hidden in the truck. He said the worker normally drove a motorcycle to work but was in a truck Friday because of cool weather.

The man, whose identity was not released, was being interviewed and authorities were searching his apartment in Phoenix with his consent, but he but had not been arrested, Chagolla said. Sheriff's officials rendered the device safe, Chagolla said.

"There's no information to indicate that there's domestic terrorism at hand," he said.

In Washington, the Department of Homeland Security also said there was no known terrorism link.